I suppose it’s no surprise, but I for one, perform better when under the influence of inspiration. My projects just flow when I am driven with excitement to complete them. I don’t even have to ignore the boring aspects of the project; I just fly right over them as if they didn’t exist. But without that inspiration, it’s sometimes a drag.
Okay, that’s me. Now, how do you get the entire team motivated like that? All at once?
Clearly the answer lies in goals that every one shares. Fame, fortune, accomplishment? It’s different with every project, and every person. The key is to find common ground that everyone can get behind.
I remember the old MacPaint program on the early Macintosh’s. All the author’s names were in the About box. Those guys met in Andy Herxtfeld’s home, and pounded out the next great thing: Fatbits! But there’s no simple formula for every project team and every project. In other words, you cannot simply offer comp time or best-employee certificates for every job.
Years later, names in the About Box isn’t enough. Been there, done that.
Eventually, people grow weary of simple incentives. They need big “life incentives” that mean something to their lives. They need to know their efforts are making a difference in the world. That people recognize their work. Yes, it takes that much. Nobody wants a shallow life.
How do you inspire your team, all at once, to change the world?