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Saturday, 05 January 2008 11:37

Give 'em a Carrot

Written by  Thomas Cutting
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Brian B. ( recently sent out an SOS to his peers looking for help with a Subject Matter Expert (SME). The SME is in the process of moving to a new project but still had a major deliverable to finish as part of the transition. The SME is already working 10+ hours a day on the new project just to stay caught up. Adding to the situation is the fact that this is a Functional environment and the resource lives on the other side of the continent.

Brian had already informed the SME that the work needed to be completed today and even cleared the time with the Director. He still felt something more was needed to seal the deal. I suggested giving the work horse a carrot.

Recognition. Tell him you know and appreciate the effort and long hours he is already putting in and thank him for making this deliverable a priority today. Simply acknowledging the fact that he is overextended establishes the fact that you care enough to notice. Adding the priority thank you reconfirms the urgency in a gentle way.

Reward. Give him tickets to the movies, a Starbucks card or other small gift. A simple, tangible token shows you are sincere. It works so much better to do this proactively than to say "If you finish today I will give you...." Brian actually picked a e-gift card from due to the geographical challenge.

Review. Make sure to get the recognition added to his annual review. When he completes the deliverable send an email to the Director letting her know how great he is. Copy the SME on the email so he gets the added boost of endorphins.

In this discussion there are hints at all four different types of authority: Positional, Referent, Penalty/Reward and Expert. The Director holds Positional authority and Brian is using it by working with the Director to clear the SME’s time. He is demonstrating and building Referent authority by relating to the SME and showing that he cares. The Penalty/Reward piece is obvious in the gift and annual review. Finally, Expert authority is being built because the SME is likely to tell the team that Brian is a great PM, the kind that legends are created about ("You think your PM is great? Well, I had this PM once that...").

For more on the different types of authority, visit my series entitled Authorized to Manage

Read 4395 times Last modified on Thursday, 10 December 2009 17:41
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