Nurturing a project from the ground up
Imagine this: Your team is about to begin creating a marketing campaign for a new product. You’ve developed many campaigns together in the past, but this time, there’s an excited buzz among your employees. Why? For the first time, you’ll be targeting a young audience, one that doesn’t just use Twitter and Instagram to communicate with their friends, but practically lives on Snapchat. This means you’ll be entering into territory that’s as yet unchartered for both you and your team. It also means it’s a huge opportunity for both your team and your individual employees to get noticed in both your company and the industry.
Now, you can approach this the same as every other project by defining objectives and budget, creating a work plan, assigning responsibilities, creating a timeline, tracking resources, and monitoring progress. In other words, you can manage the project the way you normally do. And because you’re good at your job, you’ll probably get good results.
But have you given any thought to nurturing the project in addition to managing it?
What does it mean to nurture a project, and how does it add value?
When you nurture a project, you see its potential to not only meet your company’s objectives, but also to align with your employees’ individual needs. You provide the resources and environment necessary for the project to thrive. You facilitate exploration and development by your employees so the project can grow holistically. All of this allows the project to gain value from an operational point of view. It also adds value from your employees’ perspective, since it gives them more support to pursue their interests and bring innovation to their work. With an increasing number of employees craving self-actualization in work, as noted in the e-book “Work-Life Design: the new balance,” this can contribute significantly to enhancing engagement and as a result, improve performance.
Looking at the example above, nurturing the project could involve providing more time for creative exploration of the possibilities offered by using Snapchat as a marketing medium. It could mean offering your employees the freedom to explore techniques and options they haven’t yet used to determine how viable they are as a marketing strategy for this demographic. One successful outcome could be a marketing campaign that’s rolled out as a series of Snapchat stories—and encourages consumers to create their own stories using the product in question.
Nurturing a project always means encouraging employees to take ownership of their contributions, which allows them to feel pride when they achieve a good outcome. Ultimately, it shows your employees you support them in their endeavors, which will result in more job satisfaction and increased loyalty.
Best practices to nurture a project
There are a number of best practices to keep in mind. First, nurturing doesn’t mean you don’t have to manage. Of course you do: you can’t lose sight of the objective, the budget, or the timeline. What you have to do is align the work plan with the conditions needed to nurture the project. This can include designating a longer timeline; allocating a higher budget or reallocating funds for new resources; facilitating a different form of teamwork; polling your employees’ satisfaction with the progress; and much more. In short, you have to infuse the project with positive energy and create a can-do work environment—without trampling on set conditions that pertain directly to your company’s bottom line.
Nurturing a project can encourage your employees to go above and beyond because it gives them the opportunity to pursue self-actualization at work. This in turn can improve operational performance and ultimately, improve your bottom line.