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Call Your Team to Attack

A bored and slow paced team is no fun. How can you motivate them? A great way to motivate people into taking innovative actions is to provide them with a challenge.

Trust your team with a distinct issue and ask for ideas to solve it. You can then discuss the listing of best ideas and solutions in a constructive approach.

Ask tricky questions

Without tricky questions that really are challenging, the pace of the organization will be as fast as a snail…no good. The quicker you want to grow, the more honest and confronting should the questions to your team members be. Questions like:

• How can you make our company’s profit grow double?
• How can you make this project faster and better?
• What better solutions do you have for this market?
• What isn't anyone else doing that we can do?

The questions make us demand high quality answers to fit them. It is also good to start with abstract ideas, so we can think big. Small questions with small answers don't really create or push for change.

Giving Ideas a Chance

Don’t hesitate to give new ideas a chance to meet the world and put into action. As you probably already know, if you don’t try, you won’t get anywhere. It’s better to fail than playing on the safe side. Playing it safe is not a challenge, if this was the solution to problems, everyone would've been successful. We often don't think about this in the situation, being on the safe side is often not concious to us when we are in the face of a challenge. If you know that your team really acts on the safe side then do what Peter Drucker talked about: creative imitation, this strategy for ideas is probably the safest one. This sounds like a contradiction, but it isn't, what you do is to take an successful idea and then you add or remove something to change it creatively. You can also use SCAMPER on this process.

However, creative imitation might be fine but each and every idea that is put into action doesn't need to be completed. Experiment with ideas with speed of action. If an idea doesn't work, then move on to another one. This is the way you find out what works and what doesn't. When you see ideas that are working, then keep feeding them to become strong resources for you company. This all requires that you and your team members take careful notes on everything that is occurring. So don’t be afraid of mistakes, just make sure you don’t do the same mistake twice.

Pressure and Excitement

When we’re relaxed and have a lot of time to pounder about a specific issue, we usually take our time to reflect and maybe even put things on hold until “tomorrow”. We often have the tendency to make time to come to conclusions when the end of the timeline is approaching. I did this all the time with the “home works” in school.

So to really challenge your team: give them a deadline that enforces them to come up with creative solutions. This is the time where we brainstorm, look at our facts and effectively try to come up with solutions, there just isn't enough time to waste on chitchatting about someone’s grandmother’s birthday party…

Though be careful not to come off as too harsh, make the challenges fun and engaging. One example is games; most people enjoy games, right?

When working in an organization, we sometimes have the tendency to forget about the “outside” world, which is, of course, crucial. Getting too involved and busy with our own world makes forgetting to look up and face the challenges of the market only natural. Remind them that there's a competition out there where many are hungry for success. If you can pull of showing them the real and hungry world, it automatically becomes more exciting to face challenges. One way to remind your team of the constant competition that is occurring in the market is by having contests where divided groups compete about the most innovative solutions. This will also make them less intimidated of competing and bring out more motivation. Time pressure is motivating for most people but not for all, recognize who might escape these kind of challenges.

A good team challenges you

A good team has the same vision as you do; hence they are not annoyed by the changes and challenges they have to face, but enthusiastic and ready for them.

Even though the team members have the same vision as you do, they need to be passionate enough to constructively listen to your ideas as well. That’s the spirit of teamwork, when everybody cares about the organization’s future and will do everything to fulfil it, even if it means to dare discussing the “leader’s” ideas. It’s also your mission to clearly showcase that this is an obvious point, and nobody will be kicked out for it. Bring forward the fact that everyone’s opinions are important and that they can depend on their own imagination and problem solving so that you together will build up the company. The team and you are taking this journey together; you can show that you’re the leader by being everybody’s guidance of the organization’s vision, not as the commanding boss that’s above everyone else. Turn it on its head and put yourself under everybody (metaphorically speaking) so you can push them even higher.

Feel at Home

To make sure that your team is comfortable and don’t want to cry when you challenge them, make sure that it’s okay to make mistakes. For example, share points like these:

• Failure is good, as it is an opportunity to find weak points and grow. Japanese Honda motor company founder, Soichiro Honda, once said: “Success is 99 percent failure”.
• Many ideas, means higher probability to good ideas.
• Communication is very important, speak your mind and collaborate with everyone.
• Everyone have equally valuable ideas, it’s not about your status in the organization. We’re all one team with one vision.

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