In the early stages of a project, teams are full of energy and drive. However, for long-standing teams or for those who are simply further along with their project, that initial enthusiasm can start to wane. So what's gone wrong?
At first glance, individuals in a team may appear to have confidence that they are working towards the stated and shared goals of the team. However, if you explore the shared ‘purpose’ a little further it can reveal some very different interpretations.
When a team doesn’t have a crystal clear purpose, it can be quite disconcerting for members. It can lead to individuals justifying their own interpretation and actions as being the most appropriate response to what has happened. People have made decisions which they feel they need to defend, so they justify their thoughts on the allocation of resources, energy and time for certain activities.
When there are a number of differing opinions on purpose within a team, try asking a couple of questions from the list below. You may be surprised at what you find out and how much energy is released as a result.
What surprises have there been?
What have we chosen to ignore?
What facts do we have now that we were unaware of when we started?
What good advice should we give ourselves as we go forward?
What does success look like now?
If your project team is suffering from a sense that ‘we’re not getting there as fast as we should’ or ‘it’s harder than we thought it would be’, avoid futile blaming and don’t be tempted to put your head down and keep working – no matter how busy you are! Instead, be open to fine tuning your actions and the overall purpose as required.
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