Turn your team into astronauts with some carefully placed TNT
So, you have defined the IT strategy. You have completed the reorganisation. You have reduced the operational expenditure by £1m and driven a better ROI into the capital expenditure. The team are clear on what is expected and the HR housekeeping activities of object setting, appraisals and personal development plans are all completed. The executive board think you are fantastic and everything is ready for lift off. Or is it? Have you really won over the hearts and minds of your team? Are they on this journey with you, because they have to be or because they want to be?
Metaphorically speaking, you have built the rocket. You have provided the star charts and mapped the course. You have put the pilots and astronauts in place, but something is missing?
The fuel. You forgot the fuel! Without fuel, even the best designed and efficiently managed spaceships will not even leave the ground, let alone reach the stars.
So what is this fuel and where can it be found? The fuel in this context is the very energy and passion you bring to the team and bring out in individuals. A motivated and energised team will hit the moon, but a demoralised, uninspired team is more likely to reach Sunderland than the Sun.
And let’s be honest, great strategies, logical reorganisations and perfect programme deliveries, whilst as laudable as they should be, are unlikely to bring about the “fuel” for your journey.
Instead, look for a much more fundamental source of energy. People don’t get inspired by strategy or listening to how great the vision is. They get inspired and motivation by the human factor. Saying “thank you” to an employee for something they have done well, will have a more profound and longer lasting effect than sharing a 20 page document on how to deploy the digital strategy.
Saying good morning and smiling will brighten an individual’s day more than an hour of objective and appraisal setting.
Tiny Noticeable Things or TNT is the dynamite that will lift your rocket ship off the ground. As the name suggests, these are small, trivial things that could quite easily be lost in the midst of the busy corporate world, but, when done properly and regularly enough, will be the boost that the organisation needs.
Great leaders, great managers and great bosses do the strategic bit well. But they also provide the TNT to the organisation. Whether consciously or subconsciously, you cannot be a great leader unless you also get the small stuff right. When done in an authentic and natural way, the team won’t even realise that they are being loaded with TNT. They won’t even realise that they are emulating your style and releasing TNT of their own. They won’t even realise that enough TNT is being generated to fly the rocket to the moon and back.
But you will. And at that point, you will know it is time to get flying.