When planning for the worst, understand what motivates your employees

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 By Jack Nevison

As a project manager, you probably have plans in place for when things go wrong. Unfortunately, these plans often fail, because you are "too far removed from how things actually function." After all, even the best laid plans will go awry if the managers do not understand the behavior and motivations of the people who will carry them out.

A recent article on Inc.com explains how this can happen. A common problem that many project managers face is that they are too distant from the actual implementation of their strategies.

"You get more customers, more orders, you scale up operations. Now you compete in increasingly larger arenas," the article reads. "There's the whole marketing division, people working in customer service, product design, logistics, IT, and even a financial department."

When this happens, the news source adds, companies compensate by developing a list of "best practices," which they use to govern how different departments operate. However, by codifying decisions that would once have been made by managers, these companies inadvertently contribute to a general disconnect. Not to mention the fact that any "additional mechanism" a company imposes is "more likely just going to collide with all the other mechanisms" already in place.

As a project manager, you need to get involved and "find out what people do, understand their reasons, and give them reasons to do what you want." The activities and motivations of your employees should not be a secret"—and once you know what they are, you can give employees a "good reason to cooperate, rather than ordering what you want."

New Leaf Project Management's 2-day program, "Leading the Project Team," will help you create high-performing teams that are aligned to organizational goals. In addition, our free white papers and QPM games offer a cost-effective way to earn PDU credits for PMP recertification.

"PMI®," "PMP®," and "PMBOK®" are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

"QPM™" is a registered mark of New Leaf Project Management. All rights reserved.

Categories Formal Project Management | Tags:

Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google Bookmarks, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Posterous.

You can follow any follow up comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.