In the spirit of the annual big game, I thought it would be good to write a post on how high-performing teams deliver – championships and successful projects. Obviously talent is an ingredient to performing well but without the right attitude and mindset it is very difficult to be successful.
Embrace the Pressure
Nothing great is achieved without facing some sort of pressure. Perhaps it’s from your customer demanding a specific milestone be met. Maybe it’s from your boss saying the system needs to be online by a specific date or there will be financial consequences for the company. Whatever the source of the pressure is, is somewhat irrelevant. How we process and handle that pressure is what separates high performers from the rest of the pack. Instead of using the pressure as a source of fear and anxiety, turn that pressure factor into a challenge – use the pressure to set stretch goals for you and your team and embrace those lofty expectations to keep pushing you forward. Don’t let the pressure turn into stress but let it keep driving you towards your goal. When a client tells you they are expecting you to deliver on a date that is earlier than you’re able to, take that as a challenge to build a project plan that has you delivering to their expectations. Don’t let the negative side of pressure creep into your thoughts and fill you with self-defeating doubt but let it force you to think outside the box to deliver something great.
Depend on Others
Like any good team, nobody can do it all themselves. There is a reason you have a project team working alongside you. You can’t do everything – you need your teammates to contribute. Just like the offensive lineman who will block the defence for the quarterback, you as a project manager (or any team member) need to trust and rely on your teammates to do their job and what is expected of them. They will do their jobs so that you can do yours. You count on your business analyst to prepare and deliver high-quality requirements documentation to the client so that you can prepare a great project plan that will meet the schedule and budget needs of the customer. Your development team counts on you to prepare and deliver a change request to the customer so that they will approve the extra funding and budget for them to implement a key technical change to the product. It is vital for your team to be able to trust and depend on one another to be successful as a whole.
Be Consistent and Reliable
You probably weren’t expecting this one to be in the top three but over my career, having someone who is reliable and consistent in their deliver is far more valuable than someone with a ton of talent who only “brings it” on certain days. The superstar is of no value if they aren’t performing to their expectations on a regular basis. Having someone who you know what you can expect out of them time and time again (even if it’s a little less than rock-star quality) is far easier to plan around and work with than someone who you don’t really know what to expect, even if their top-end game is above that of your consistent performers.
Champion mindsets are often only associated to sports, which is unfortunate because in the professional world, there are a lot of similarities in the mental makeup of what makes a champion. Being able to shake off the negative to focus on what needs to be accomplished, trusting your team members to deliver what they are responsible for and bringing your top game to work each and every day are three key (and relatively easy) ways to bring a champion attitude to the office.