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Social Tools That Motivate Getting Things DoneMore employers are catching on to what Charlotte discovered:  Tying workplace wellness program to online games or social media lights a fire under workers as no number of posters in the break room can. “That social aspect creates some level of accountability,” says Brad Bell, an associate professor of HR at Cornell University. “You know that if you don’t show up, people are going to notice.”  Let The Wellness Games Begin, Bloomberg Businessweek, July 29, 2013.

Before there were social sites we had peer pressure.  Simply put, making it known publicly where things stood often helped things happen better than any project manager status report, even with that big red stop light indicator.

A couple of examples:

I wanted to do nothing more than get our weekly activity reports to be on time and accurate as to format and content.  Nothing I did seem to make a difference.  Then one day out of frustration I simply summarized back to my staff in an e-mail, how many things I needed to fix on each individual’s report (i.e., spelling, layout, etc.).  I sent it out to everyone and identified by individual what I had to fix on each individual’s input.  Guess what happened?  The next reports had significantly fewer issues.  After that, the reports had no issues.  They were essentially perfect the first time.

See for comparison It Should Work The First Time

In another case, we needed to clean up and account for excess and unused equipment.  Everyone had something, but most had little idea where it was or who had it.  It was not unusual at all to open a closet and find old equipment literally piled up to the ceiling.

The solution?  At our weekly staff meeting with the general manager I simply summarized in a bar chart the count of excess equipment still to be found and turned in, by department.  Know what happened?  Those department managers, seeing the numbers and comparing them to each other, started to make things happen.  In a few months we cleaned up an excess equipment problem that had been lingering for … years.

I’ve often heard notions such as “praise in public but reprimand in private.”   I like to instead use “brutal honesty” which simply means we have very few “private” matters on the team.  We can see how we are doing relative to everyone else.  There is nothing new about this. Any PERT or Gantt chart or up-to-date status will show us who is on time and who is behind, for example.  Leveraging the simple desire of people to look good among their colleagues is a great social project management tool that works.

Additionally, see If Nothing Else Honesty Is Just More Efficient

What social methods have you used to help move your project forward?

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