There are some projects that seem like they were put in our funnel straight from the devil himself. The project may seem never-ending, have a zillion revisions, the client’s a bear, or it’s just not fun or interesting. When a project you dislike is in your pipeline sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to see it through. When a project’s going sour (in your eyes) you end up gritting your teeth, huffing and puffing your way through to the bitter end. When you finish you celebrate, with a happy dance or possibly vodka, and pray that a project like that never comes your way again.
Challenges can be fun and keep work interesting but sometimes it’s hard to see the positive in a project that has you feeling all negative vibes.
Here are some tips to keep you motivated through to the end:
- Create a learning goal. Before you begin the project, write down something you will learn while working on this project. For example, if the client wants to see a more in-depth ROI report, make it your goal to create a stellar report in a software program you could brush up on. Giving yourself a goal to learn something will give you a ‘side’ mission and give you a little more motivation.
- Think outside the box. Dream up a way to tweak or update your output or results. Adding a little flair to your final product and stepping outside of your norm can add excitement throughout the project, in anticipation for your new (or somewhat new) creation. For example: Add an extra section to your proposal to include research or a white paper OR do something simple like changing the colors in a report.
- Join forces. Find a ‘glass half-full’ colleague to help you stay motivated and/or help you complete the project. We all know two heads are better than one. But did you know one positive attitude is better than none? So if you’re feeling the funk on a certain project enlist a work buddy to help keep you positive. Be honest, tell them you’re struggling and ask them to help you. Whether that’s sharing the workload or sending you funny emails/notes to keep you laughing, a partner in project crime is always a plus.
- Hit it head on. What part or aspect of the project has you wanting to hide? Is it a particular part of the process? Is it communicating with a particular person? Figure out what it is about the project that makes it suck. Write it down. Then create a solution to make that part better (even a little bit better). Hitting the issue head-on can help you move past the negative vibes and towards creating a solution that’ll help you get the project done with less of a cringe. Be a great employee by being a problem solver.
Trying out one of these tips on your next hella-bad projects may turn your frown upside down.
When it’s too many too often.
When bad projects become frequent and there are a lot of people feeling lackluster about multiple projects there may be a deeper problem brewing. Keeping a close eye on behavioral trends, like morale or motivation, is paramount to having an engaged thriving workplace culture. So if you and your colleagues aren’t finding any light at the end of the bad project tunnel or if you’re a leader and you don’t see employees getting excited to see projects in the funnel……then some change(s) needs to be made.
Here are three things to look into if you think there may be a bigger problem with project motivation:
- There may be a part of the project process that is turning everyone sour. Have a pow-wow with the team, find out if there are any hang-ups or roadblocks in how you do things. Sometimes changing just one thing, such as removing an extra step in your process, can result in happier attitudes.
- Bad Clients. We said it…..BAD CLIENTS. Not all business is good business. If there seems to be specific clientele or even a specific client that’s not bringing anything to the company other than grief. Fire them. Perhaps what you offer is not what they need. Every company should know their target and how they will do business with that target. Don’t threaten or change your business’s culture to pander to an unruly client. Practice an abundance mindset…..there’s more and better business out there.
- Recognition and Engagement. When no one seems to be having fun, maybe it’s because there’s no fun to be had. People need their workplace to be MORE than JUST all work and no play. If it’s just project-after-project with no engagement or recognition mixed in, people will show up give it their baseline and wait for their paycheck every two weeks. So when it seems like every project is coming from the fiery depths below, wake up and shake up the workplace with fun, downtime, team building and morale boosters.