John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, once said in an interview that a business should be able to identify and articulate its “higher meaning and purpose.” Yes, money is important. So are the deliverables, client outcomes, job descriptions and expectations etc.–all those things we learned back in Project Management 101. But human beings have a deep, primal need to be a part of something great, something significant, something meaningful. And if you can tap into that need and help to fill it for your team members, they’ll put much more energy and creativity into their work. Your job as a leader of this virtual team, therefore, is to cut quickly through the transactional elements of the work, go right to the essence of its meaning and then lay it out clearly for all involved.
The first step is for you: Carve out some solo time to think about your project and reflect on the challenge ahead. Ask yourself the following questions and write down your responses and answers:
- What is this project really about–beyond its obvious transactional activities and details?
- What kind of impact are we trying to have on the lives of our customers/end users?
- How does each of us contribute to the enhancement of our end
user’s life and business?
Feel free to add other similar questions and allow yourself to follow your musings wherever they take you.
When you’re satisfied with your answers (you’ll know because of how energized and inspired you feel), the next step is really quite simple:
Talk about it with your team.
Share it on your screen in your web conferences and ask people to respond. Ask them to think about the same questions and share their answers at a subsequent meeting.
Watch what happens to the energy of the team.