Project Management

Need a Little Motivation? Start with the Why

From the Voices on Project Management Blog
by , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

cyndee miller
Lynda Bourne
Kevin Korterud
Conrado Morlan
Peter Tarhanidis
Mario Trentim
Jen Skrabak
David Wakeman
Wanda Curlee
Christian Bisson
Ramiro Rodrigues
Soma Bhattacharya
Emily Luijbregts
Sree Rao
Yasmina Khelifi
Lenka Pincot
Jorge Martin Valdes Garciatorres
Marat Oyvetsky

Past Contributors:

Rex Holmlin
Vivek Prakash
Dan Goldfischer
Linda Agyapong
Jim De Piante
Siti Hajar Abdul Hamid
Bernadine Douglas
Michael Hatfield
Deanna Landers
Kelley Hunsberger
Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina
Alfonso Bucero Torres
Marian Haus
Shobhna Raghupathy
Peter Taylor
Joanna Newman
Saira Karim
Jess Tayel
Lung-Hung Chou
Rebecca Braglio
Roberto Toledo
Geoff Mattie

Recent Posts

Let Team Preferences Guide Knowledge Sharing Practices

Earth Day: Urgency Meets Action with Projects to Heal the Planet

4 Essentials for Leading Remote and Hybrid Teams

What Does It Take to Build a Successful Project Team?

3 Backlog Pitfalls to Avoid

by Cyndee Miller

I know it’s only November, but I’m done with 2020. Alas, I have not yet mastered time travel. So I headed to the latest PMI Virtual Experience Series: “A Deep Dive in Business Analysis: Drawing a Map to the Future.” Yup, sign me up. I am so ready to draw that map for me and my team. Now, admittedly I am not particularly sports-obsessed, but American football coach Katie Sowers and tennis analyst Craig O’Shannessy offered up some great stuff on resilience. Hint: It starts with purpose.

“No matter what it is that we do, if we don’t have a why, we’re not going to be the best version of ourselves,” said Sowers, the first woman and the first openly LGBT coach in the National Football League.

The trailblazing leader also recognized that although COVID has spurred insecurity, it’s also provided an unexpected push that may guide us along the right path. “As hard as these times have been, it’s led to more communication, better preparation, and an environment where we have to find that internal motivation, which is really more permanent than external motivation,” Sowers said.

For O’Shannessy, it’s about understanding yourself—and your opponents: “You’ve gotta conquer yourself. You’ve gotta conquer your demons and really bring it together.”

And O’Shannessy knows of what he speaks, having coached some of the best tennis players in the world, including Novak Djokovic and rising star Matteo Berrettini. Project leaders looking to keeping their own teams motivated should focus on positive reinforcement—backed by data. “I go to the analytics and look for red flags and green flags,” he said. “I always make short highlight videos of the player excelling in a specific area. I’m constantly delivering these videos showing them excelling. When they see themselves out there doing well, it really works.”

Pre-pandemic, resilience was all about looking at risk versus preparedness, but now it’s data  driving the action, said FTI Consulting’s Caroline Das-Monfrais. “You cannot have a resilient organization without data.”

Yet processes and data can only take you so far, she said. “At the end of the day you need people. People are the critical enabler of resilience.”

And those people need to be more fearless about getting their POV across, said PMI’s Sunil Prashara. “Get it on the table and talk openly and equally.” Today’s ultra-VUCA world demands true changemakers, and it’s no longer enough for organizations and their project leaders to be agile—they have to be gymnastic.

Building resilience means people growing comfortable with uncertainty and focusing on “the little things they actually can control,” said journalist-turned-poker champ Maria Konnikova. Naturally, this is terrifying for most of us. Who wants to lose control? But when you trust the process, you can push forward and accomplish more. “You need to act, you need to actually take the plunge, knowing that you will never have perfect information,” she said.

Project leaders should “be curious about what you’re doing,” she said. You can’t manage a project well if it bores you or you’re checked out. “Find something in it that will actually engage you.”

Want more? Get ready for the next Experience PMI event, “Going the Distance: Forging Our Path Forward,” slated for 9 December:


How are you keeping your team motivated?

Posted by cyndee miller on: November 15, 2020 11:06 AM | Permalink

Comments (3)

Please login or join to subscribe to this item
Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

interesting thank you for sharing.

Please Login/Register to leave a comment.


"I don't like work - no man does - but I like what is in the work - the chance to find yourself."

- Joseph Conrad