September 20, 2010 at 11:12pm
Managers are thrilled when members of their team are passionate about their projects and enjoy finding new ways to improve their work. At some point, most projects come to an end, whether it's meeting a deadline, budget constraints, or other external expectations; however, passionate team members are not always willing to settle for good enough when they know they can make an aspect of the project even better. A good manager must find a way to nurture their employee's passions without sacrificing the integrity of a project.
My line of work is project- and deadline-driven. Some projects are long and evolving, and my team has the luxury of trying out many solutions and experimenting before settling on a course of action. Most projects are driven by budgets and deadlines and have many stakeholders throughout the organization. When we become excited about a project, we want to do it all, and we want to do it perfectly. We figure out quickly, however, how unrealistic that usually is. Usually we have to take the project in phases and decide what can be finished by launch and what has to wait for phase two or three. When someone truly enjoys their work and is driven to make the project successful, they want their work to be perfect. However, if a certain deadline or budget must be met, sometimes we have to settle for what's good enough for the project. This is problematic for a few reasons: a team member may be unwilling to yield to project constraints, a manager may be ineffective at communicating with the team member about how to make the project successful, and the employee may become dissatisfied with being unable to do the work they want to do. Managers must harmonize the required work with the passion and drive of their team and coworkers.
I think, to some extent, the solution is a change in mindset or perception. So often we hear that time is money, and our organizations are cost and profit driven. Many members of an organization don't think about this as a part of their daily job function, but some think about this daily. We know communication is important. Why not empower employees by telling them exactly what financial upside their work can have on the organization? Keep everyone engaged in the project so they understand how all of the moving parts work together.
Teams can be more effective
Team members will be motivated and will understand the impact of their work
Organizations can benefit from passionate employees choosing to work on new projects
This creates an environment of collaborative and forward-looking colleagues