Values: Pivotal to a Project’s Success
Perhaps you’ve experienced this first hand: A team develops fantastic ideas at the beginning of a project but slows down when it comes to realizing them, turning creativity into intertia.
Values such as creativity and discipline are guidelines for how people act, and this is why team members’ values have a direct influence on the success of a project. And just as peoples’ values fluctuate, projects are not static either: At different stages, different values are important for moving a project forward. Creativity, for example, is more important in the planning phase than in the realization phase which requires values such as discipline and precision.
Just like the the path of a maglev train through an alternating magnetic field, a project is moved forward through an ever-changing value structure. Managers who activate their team members’ right values at the right time bring the train to its destination.
Alignment Incentive: The Value Loupe
In our book we present the Value Loupe as a tool that helps you focus on values that are important at different stages in a project’s life-cycle:
As a project progresses, the loupe (and thus its focal point) moves down the list as the project moves beween its stages. For example, when it moves from its planning into the realization stage, being goal-oriented becomes more valuable than being radical.
To move the loupe and thus guide your team, use questions during systematic feedback meetings: Ask “Are we thinking radically enough to position our product?” in the beginning of the project, use goal-oriented questions such as “Did we meet our targets last week?” in later stages.
Continually keep the project’s – and its team members’ – values in focus, firstly by asking yourself which values are useful and helpful at the present time, then by asking your team where those values can currently be found in the project. Through value-focussed discussion, the focus will be fine-tuned onto these values, and the team members will activate them for themselves and therefore for the entire team.