Hello SOTGC community,
I have been faced with a quite challenging project at work: one that requires multiple participants and is a challenging task to begin with. For those of us that have been in the workforce for a while, know that, one day, we will all hit this one project that will make us feel stuck. Everything takes time, nothing comes easy, and we keep changing direction. But what if you are the owner of this project?
I am writing from the perspective of a participant, but I can only imagine how my friend, who is in charge of this project, feels. She has to lock down the scope of the project, work with multiple business partners, and, of course, all while staying on budget and on time.
I took a step back for a second from this project, and, instead of being an additional burden on her, I decided to reflect back on where we were, how far we have come, and what the underlying factors were that could be making it more difficult to lock down the scope of the project. I decided that some things simply take time and unforeseen events always happen, but I could do what I could to contribute toward putting a smile back on everybody’s face.
Instead of being an additional source of heartache, I decided to take matters into my own hands and thought about how we could bring this very talented team back into a good, positive, innovate spirit. Then the light bulb appeared. I knew I was just as much in a funk as everybody else because, quite frankly, this is one of those projects that is as bad as an itch .… It keeps itching away and you don’t feel any further along than yesterday.
So I thought about how to improve our team dynamics and came up with a game. It’s called “Salt and Pepper.” The idea behind the game is to start communicating with one another while also learning two to three new things about each other. So I started writing different words onto a few blank pieces of paper that will be taped to individuals’ backs. The team member then can ask only “yes” and “no” questions until they figure out what is written on the paper. Once they know, they have to find their match. So let’s say you have “Salt” written on your back; you will now need to find “Pepper.” Once the individuals have found their match, they will have to learn what keeps the other one up at night with the project. Once they figure it out, they will articulate back to the wider team. The idea behind this is to show empathy for one another so that we have a better understanding of each other’s motivations.
I think I have been selfish in the past, driving my own agenda, and, with this game, I am hoping to better understand my coworker’s mentality. The moral of this story is that though it’s easy to accept defeat and start exhibiting unproductive behavior, it is much more rewarding to feel victorious as a team once the project is completed.
I just shared with you my initiative to better a team project. Have you ever been stuck or are you stuck right now in an unproductive situation? Share your story, and let us know how you have overcome that.