I recently finished creating a quiz for Project Managers. It’s called “What’s Your Project Leadership Type”. It took me months, lots of effort, some late nights, and a fair bit of revising & rethinking along the way.
As the quiz neared completion, I was doing great – making quick decisions, easily hooking up the tech, and making huge progress every day. I was so excited when I went through it one last time and couldn’t think of any other adjustments – I was DONE!
But over the next few days, instead of building on that momentum and quickly taking the next steps to get my quiz “out there” in the market…I actually started to feel a bit adrift. I *wanted* everyone to take the quiz, and I *wanted* to start presenting the accompanying webinar on Leadership Types.
But I found my motivation was actually lower than normal. Sleep in? Garden? Read a novel? Yes, please!
And to my frustration, I couldn’t seem to figure out exactly what the next step should be, so it was tough to hook onto some kind of action to keep me moving forward.
What in the world was going on??
That “lull” I was experiencing is actually perfectly normal. It’s the “plateau” you reach after making a big, long duration effort. Think hiking up a mountain trail. You keep climbing up with no relief until you hit that bit of level ground where the view is amazing.
This plateau is what your team feels whenever they hit a milestone.
Which milestones? Any that take effort. For example:
- Blueprinting is done or requirements signed off
- User Training is over
- Data conversion is successfully completed
- A major demo is given to the customer (or executives)
Your team worked long and hard to hit each of these milestones. They’re much more than a line item on the schedule.
Be aware that your people are going to lose a little momentum. They may slide backwards in the area of team development and start “storming” for a while. They may chat a bit more during a meeting, or seem unable to make decisions.
Don’t worry – just like when I feel the need to curl up and read a book all afternoon, your people need some time to recover.
When will they get back to “normal”? It depends on a few things:
- How long was the heavy lifting…and how much effort did they put into reaching this milestone? 1 week of all-day testing might be draining, but if your team has been burning the midnight oil for 2 months, they’ll need longer to recover
- How strong are they as a team? If part of the effort was dealing with each other, they may be hesitant to jump back into close quarters again (even if it’s virtual)
- Were they able to recover from the last milestone before the current one began? My husband had a manager who used to tell the team they needed to “surge”. The team would grumble “when are we ever not surging?!”
Since they hit the last milestone out of the park, no doubt the team will eventually recover. But you have a big influence on their plateau’s duration and intensity. Remember to let them rest. And help them prepare for whatever comes next.