Pep Rallies for Projects

Most new projects are inherently exciting; but, you can't always (nor should you) rely on the freshness of work to crystallize enthusiasm and optimism amongst your team. And that's important. Equal to getting a contract signed and the right boxes checked is knowing that your team is looking forward to the next several months working with this new client. Somewhere between setting up Basecamp and planning the kick-off meeting, take a moment to think of clever, fun ways to make the start of your project unique and inspiring.

One approach we have used recently at Viget: Fields Trips. Having been awarded some really exciting new work, we sent our project teams on a topical afternoon excursion. The Falls Church team ventured down to the National Zoo, while our Durham folks took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Duke Lemur Center. The trip was, of course, related to the upcoming project -- but it wasn't a working event, per se. The goal for this activity was two-fold:

  1. Get the team excited about the work and client
  2. Get the team excited about the team

Panda at the National Zoo Viget Team at the National Zoo

The latter point is another area that is often overlooked. Team dynamics are just as critical to helping or hurting a project. Getting your team outside of the office and into a social setting (beyond happy hours) can go a long way toward fostering camaraderie and commitment.

Duke Lemur Center

Another tactic we used to get folks excited about this new work: Shared Workspace. This depends on your office set up, but try carving out a dedicated space in which the team can work and make it their own. We told our team the space was theirs for the next several months and they could even decorate it as they see fit. There are rumors walls will be painted sometime soon.

While certainly more fun than, say, creating a budget sheet, these activities should still be viewed through a productive lens. But if you can lay the foundation of shared excitement early on, you'll be surprised how much that pays off down the line.

Kevin is a senior digital strategist in our Falls Church, VA, HQ. He helps clients such as the World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Valspar create dynamic and successful online strategies.

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