Speaking of sticky…what is social glue?


In order to align the objectives of the individual members of the project team with the general objectives of the project itself requires that we take into consideration what constitutes the social glue needed to keep a workforce together, headed toward the same goal. There are five practices I would like to suggest to achieve this cohesion.

Money. It makes the world go ’round. By tying the project members financially to the success of the project, the project leader can align the interests of the participating members towards the project’s goals. If you make available the possibility of a bonus at project completion, members will be more attentive to the projects needs. However, if you tie the member’s salary and bonus to the project’s outcome, you have the member’s complete attention.

Mission. “The job of leadership today is not just to make money. It’s to make meaning.”- John Brown, Xerox Parc. In addition to wanting to be well compensated for their work, individuals want something they can believe in and be motivated to work on because of impact on their lives- work with a mission. People want to make difference. By aligning the member’s goals so that he makes a difference with the project, that he sees how it is beneficial is critical. .

Learning. If an organization is to survive its first success it has to learn. The same applies for individuals. In order to grow professionally individuals must continually learn. This relates directly to the first point: that an individual with more knowledge earns more. However, it is important to remember that talented individuals also want intellectual challenge. And what better way exists to learn than to learn on the job. By presenting an individual with a real opportunity to learn increases his commitment to the project.

Fun. The one thing we are not supposed to have. Friendship and camaraderie are two elements that distinguish a lifeless project from a “wow project”. With the ever increasing demands and pace of the new economy, work needs to be, now more than ever, fun. In order for companies to attract and retain the best employees, they need to make work fun. The same holds true for projects: a fun project is a project everyone wants to be involved in.

Pride. Everyone likes to be associated with organizations and activities they can be proud of. Look at alumni associations of prestigious business schools for example, even after having left the institution, the alumni continue to be involved in activities and are concerned about their alma mater. Pride can be derived from a project being a “cool” project. For example, organizing the line up for Sónar 2000 in Barcelona.

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