How can you maintain the forward momentum when obstacles and blockers keep getting in your way? This is the theme running through my projects this week. I know it is a temporary phenomenon and that things always do get back on track, but I wonder how others deal with the disappointments and the setbacks in this e-learning world of ours. What happens to a champion when the competitive edge is dulled; what happens to the coach when the team runs into difficulties? Do they run from the problem; do they quit trying? Do they often take two steps forward and one step back?
Reflection is one of the answers to the issue; and I find it useful to think through the issues from different perspectives. Is the project team under other pressures unknown to the mentor? Is the individual distracted by other life or work issues? What strategies can be used to kickstart the project afresh and motivate team members? Maybe its time to rethink the objectives and find out what the project team members are needing right now.
Morale boosting in times of extreme pressure might work! What about going the extra mile to provide some incentives? How about using the Reward, React and Response approach? Reward the achievements and efforts; react to the local issues and respond to the immediate needs of the team. Some of this might be totally outside of the business of the project, but could just shift the blocks and obtstacles and get them back on track.
Individual contact would be the best option to address these issues, so I’m going to carve out some extra time to talk to each team member. What’s the quickest and most effective way to get this happening? Is it the phone call, is the direct email or is it the f2f conversation. Timing and proximity are critical elements here. Phoning is hit and miss – so email first to set up a time to talk – then arrange for the f2f – then demonstrate how to use VOIP. IN other words, step them into a pattern on communication that is sustainable.
A one to many mentoring model requires some predetermined and agreed communication times. Agreement and committment to those events is a critical requirement for the group. Collaborating with the group on these events and being prepared to be really flexible is a critical requirement of the mentor.
However, it is necessary to set up some individual mentoring sessions to suport each person in their project tasks. Talk to the team to get their ideas on this.
So to get out of the ‘two steps forward and one step back’ phenomenon means PREPARE TO BE FLEXIBLE.