Harvard Business Review published a productivity article that sang a simple truth. Progress Motivates. Every business mulls the question of how to engage, motivate, and inspire people. Hundreds of studies outline their top 3, top 5, 10, 12….
But at the end of the day, progress reigns because everyone loves to achieve, contribute, wrap it up, cement the conceptual, and cross it off the list. Add meaningful work, and the crowd goes wild.
Do the other qualities matter? Absolutely. But in my opinion, the “Progress Principle” (www.hbr.org), is the basic need. It’s like food, water, & shelter in the work culture. As leaders (and we all are), having a plan to create a PROGRESS WHEEL rewards you with better results, faster turn times, and engaged team members who feel great about what they do every day.
So how do we leverage the Progress Principle? First, we develop a plan of simple “awareness” tactics. Milestones celebrated throughout a project, measurements that allow people to SEE progress, recognition of advances.
Second, we play a PROGRESS FACILITATION role full-out. Notice I didn’t say, PROGRESS CREATOR. As a leader of others, your role is to enable their achievement – not micro-manage it. According to HBR, “the best thing can do for their people is provide catalysts and nourishers that allow projects to move forward while removing the obstacles and toxins that result in setbacks.”
In other words, be an advocate of your people by paving & clearing their road so they can plow through. This includes setting them up for success, nurturing their work, and getting obstacles and naysayers out of their line of sight. And the “win” doesn’t have to be life altering.
Small progress matters. As a leader, you can create a world where your team can achieve small and big progress daily.