Group momentum and group inertia are two sides of the same coin. To lead an effective team you have to get everyone moving and eventually in the same direction. But left to their own accord, people will naturally go their own way or worse stay at rest.

Many entrepreneurs simply think that a good idea or great compensation is enough to get the people engine running at peak performance. But so many components are involved in team dynamics and many outside the sphere of influence for a CEO.

In my experience I have found one effective key to get a group of people moving forward and in the same manner... constant communication. The simple way is to go and talk to each one of them and make sure they understand the why and how of the objective. And most importantly you must instigate desire or things will never move forward. The problem with this approach is that is time consuming and rarely scalable.

To bring efficiency to the process, you must learn to use communication tools like writing and video so you can communicate high-powered emotion to many at one time. Of course the hard part there is to be compelling. That only works when you transmit the right message to the right people. So if you are till stuck, you might want to reassess the team and the objective

Here are additional insights from my Inc. colleagues.

1. Focus on small steps towards a greater goal.

I learned a valuable lesson when listening to a motivational speaker with a military background.  He shared that the most important thing he could do for his troops was to make sure they understood the goal--that the mission was to get to the top of a hill or to recapture a position.  With this end in mind, he then told his troops to measure every tactic against whether or not it was moving them closer to their target.

Often teams get caught up in cycles of inefficiency trying to determine every possible scenario to best reach a goal.  Working with your team to get them focused instead on how the very next step can move your company closer to success will break the unhealthy pattern of "analysis paralysis". Eric Holtzclaw--Lean Forward

2. Get everyone contributing.

The best way to overcome team inertia is to provide straightforward tasks where everyone can pitch in. Goals are only useful if all team members know exactly what to do. At ASJA's annual conference we run an event called Client Connections where editors, agents and other clients meet with our writer members. It's always highly popular and this year we had a new person in charge. I wanted to make sure she'd have lots of clients on hand, so I asked our 15 board members to share their contacts with her. Most did, and the event was the big success I was hoping for. Minda Zetlin--Start Me Up

Lighten the stress.

Feelings of overload and burnout are prevalent in today's organizations; large and small. With higher demand and fewer resources being the new norm, leaders must keep a careful eye out for the effects of stress in their workforce. To combat group inertia create an energizing environment that promotes physical, emotional, and social well-being. Check into group discounts at a nearby gym and offer memberships as a perk, make ho-hum meetings more upbeat and collaborative, and assign culture captains to arrange monthly outings. Showing your team how much you appreciate them will bring a lot of life back into the office. Marla Tabaka--The Successful Soloist


4. Generate excitement.

The key to getting people moving fast and forward is to get them excited about what they are doing, and fully engaged in their work. When you take on a new initiative, assign your people to key roles--including the authority to make decisions. Create self-managing teams that are encouraged and allowed to try new things and find new solutions to long-standing problems. Give your people visibility in the organization by widely publicizing their successes, and making regular presentations to upper management. Be sure everyone has a chance to contribute and to have their say. When your people achieve key milestones, recognize and reward their accomplishments. Peter Economy--The Management Guru


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Published on: Jun 26, 2014
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