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You, as a leader, can embrace the concept of projects to move your department closer and closer to your vision of excellence.
Most, if not all, leaders can list all the problems and frustrations in their department. These could be related to the work itself or perhaps to the behaviors of your team members.
But don’t stop there.
Use your imagination to create a picture in your mind of how you would like things to be. This powerful practice enables you to see where you want your department to head, or the direction you want to take. Your job is to get your team to buy into that vision and move towards it.
The reason to use projects instead of a never-ending series of continuous improvements is because projects help to keep your team focused.
The best length for a project is 90 days. Most companies report results quarterly: first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, etc. If you think in 90-day intervals, you can get your team to think about the project in terms of a beginning, a middle, and an end. If it’s a longer-term initiative, you can still chunk it down into 90-day intervals.
If you have multiple projects, it’s important that you give your team a sense of momentum and accomplishment as you work through it.
Let’s say that your vision is to improve the teamwork and productivity within your team. You might say, “In this next quarter, we’re going to cross train on various jobs. I want every person in the team to be able to learn three jobs in the department.” That might be what you could achieve within the 90 day period. Then in the next 90 days you might say, “Now let’s see if we can cross train on the other four jobs in our department.” That way, you and your team can see the progress that is being made.
When you involve your team in the projects, both by getting their ideas and keeping them looped into how things are progressing, then they’re going to be more engaged.
Additionally, as you’re making improvements and gains, be sure to acknowledge and celebrate them. That helps create the momentum your team needs to accomplish the next project.
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