By Kevin Eikenberry, co-founder of The Remote Leadership Institute.
Your team has just completed a major project, after months of tremendous effort and dedication. You hit your goal, and everyone is excited, relieved and feeling a great sense of satisfaction. Everyone is also tired and might not know what comes next.
What do you do once you’ve experienced success? How do you rally the team toward a new goal, especially when employees are dispersed in various locations? Use this advice.
Recognize and celebrate
With success comes the need for recognition. People need to know they are appreciated for their role in the project’s success. This is critical for remote employees, who often feel like their efforts go unrecognized by management and their peers, especially when they miss out on in-office celebrations and face-to-face praise.
Recognize everyone in a public format, specifically describing what each person did to ensure the success of the project. Beyond recognition, give people a chance to celebrate the results of their hard work and the effort they expended. If you can bring everyone together, great. If not, go out of your way to make the celebration real, heartfelt and fun! If you send remote employees a quick “Thank you” email, while the rest of the gang is celebrating over beers and cake, you will alienate your remote folks.
Refresh, rejuvenate and refocus
People may be physically and emotionally tired. Give them time to refresh and rejuvenate. Before you dive into another huge project, take some time to decompress. Relax expectations for a bit. Reduce the workload if possible. Encourage people to take some time off. Basically, give everyone a chance to breathe.
Know, however, that while this time is important, it can’t last too long. As a leader you must monitor people’s energy level and emotional state. Basking in success is positive, and you must not let that turn to complacency or lethargy. Once people are ready to rebound, help them refocus.
Remind people of the big picture
Your success came in part because people bought into the project and understood its importance. After that achievement is reached it can be hard to refocus people. The best way to do that is to remind them of the big picture and the purpose of their work. Help them see the recent success as one more step toward the ultimate goal.
Review lessons learned
After any major project, especially a big success, it is important to review what happened and find the lessons. Search for the things that went well that you want to make sure you repeat. Also, assess the errors, snags or situations that can be improved next time. Solidify this review by documenting the lessons and next steps.
There may be a variety of expectations to be reset. Working hours, level of urgency, costs, and a variety of other issues might need to be re-calibrated as the work returns to “normal.” Based on the great results you achieved, you also may need to raise expectations because people have learned things and gained new skills that set the bar higher.
Rock on towards the next target
One success can fuel the next. If you do the previous five things well, you will capture the momentum and move on towards new goals and greater success!