We have all been in a situation where we are struggling to motivate someone to up their game. Whether it is an employee, a direct report executive, a team member, team lead, or project resources, the frustrations are all too common. Someone is not pulling their weight. We have resorted to labeling these people as dis-engaged, passive aggressive, just plain lazy or incompetent. In our politically charged and politically correct work environment, this is a real challenge. The resulting outcome of this type of behavior is a lowering of team morale, heightened tension, pressures on results and the potential for outbursts and inappropriate counter-measures.
We are encouraged to go the extra mile, to find new and innovative ways to motivate our people to rise to the challenge. We do focus groups, team building exercises, off-sites; participate in engagement seminars, and an endless array of training, books, webinars and personal development workshops. For some, this approach is very helpful and the results are positive and energizing. For others, however, it seems that no amount of creativity and motivation seems to work. This can create a very stressful environment for all parties.
In her book, Rising Strong, author Brene Brown floats the notion of “Moving the Rock”. In her words, “He is not the right person for the position and there’s no amount of pushing or getting on him that’s going to change that”. This is not a new concept but one that we have tended to push aside in today’s work environment. If we are liberal with our assumptions that people are generally doing the best that they can, then there will be people who cannot rise above this level. They cannot rise above their skill level, emotional quotient, energy level, excitement or work performance. When we recognize this, we have an opportunity to do something so that all will benefit. Perhaps there is another project, role or position that will be more suited to this person. If not, then we should act quickly and help them leave the organization on a positive footing.
We need to reflect on our need to evaluate people based on what we think they should accomplish and respect and understand them for who they are. Once we do that we get to see our teams in a whole new light. We get to do a roster change, early on, so that we are all equipped to go the distance with the right team for the job.
For consultants and service providers, this can be very challenging when working with joint client teams as we typically do not have a say as to who is put on the team. Confronting a client can be very challenging and daunting. However, it is far better to do that honestly and quickly rather than suffering the fallout of missed deadlines, poor quality, cost over-runs and low team morale. Move the Rock!