MRO Magazine

Feature

RAISING EXCITEMENT ABOUT PROJECTS

One of these days you'll be preparing to introduce an ambitious new goal or project, a new work routine, or a change in operations. And you'll want to get your people excited and energized about the c...


One of these days you’ll be preparing to introduce an ambitious new goal or project, a new work routine, or a change in operations. And you’ll want to get your people excited and energized about the challenges ahead.

While the steps you take will be unique to your own organization, a wide variety of excitement-building techniques are available to you right now. One or two of these simple techniques might be all it takes to enliven your workplace and get your people moving in a bold new direction.

Appreciation. New goals and projects often arise because of past successes. So consider placing your new goals in the context of past achievements. Let your people know, in word and deed, how they made your past success possible — and let them know that you appreciate their support moving forward.

Award. When you’re trying to achieve something great, recognize the people who help make it possible. A simple award — a plaque, monetary award or some symbolic gift — will be noticed by everyone. Awards can be offered in fun, too. If you’re trying to keep the atmosphere lighthearted, recognize your people for a few of the humorous activities they’ve undertaken along the way.

Food. To create an informal, congenial atmosphere for discussion of your initiative, think ‘food’. Even a simple orientation breakfast or coffee hour brings employees away from their regular duties and reinforces the importance of what you’re thinking.

Guests. A third party helping to kick off or explain your new project adds to its stature. Your third party can be a colleague from another business, a respected supplier or a consultant. The ideal third party: a knowledgeable individual who can inspire your people.

Impact. When employees recognize the positive impact of an initiative, their commitment may well increase. So take the time to educate your people about the significance of what you’re trying to do, through bulletins, posters and personal comments. State the impact in terms they understand, such as business stability, preservation or growth of jobs, or increased ability to serve customers.

Kickoff. By tying your new initiative to an event, you’ll signify its value. More important, you’ll give your people an opportunity to learn what’s coming — and talk about the steps necessary for success.

Meet-and-greet. Once you’ve announced a new initiative, make it a point to talk to the people involved individually and in small groups. Stress the importance of the initiative, answer questions, and demonstrate your personal commitment toward the goal.

Mentors. Does your new venture require education and guidance? If so, consider assigning experienced mentors to help less-experienced folks learn what it takes to make your project a success. The benefits are manifold, and include a deepening sense of commitment on the part of your mentors and growing knowledge on the part of those being guided.

Sharing. If your new project might result in a major decrease in equipment downtime or costs, you might consider a bonus or incentive system to reward the people who help make your success possible. While a formula-based cash payment is always appreciated, a special bonus or incentive helps deepen employee commitment to your goal.

Surprise. Build interest and support for your initiative by making occasional ‘surprise’ announcements about progress toward your goal. Examples: News of a major contract, new maintenance initiatives, new systems ready to implement.

Teams. Assuming that your new initiative involves hands-on commitment of your people, organize employees into ad-hoc teams, with each team responsible for some facet of your venture. Team responsibility helps build a sense of ownership of the project.

Updates. Keep your people apprised of what’s happening with your project. Regular e-mail bulletins, posters depicting statistical progress, or photos of your people involved with project-related activities help keep the initiative in front of everyone — and very much alive.

Richard G. Ensman, Jr., is a regular contributor to Machinery & Equipment MRO.