Using Expectancy Theory to Motivate Your Team

Using Expectancy Theory to Motivate Your Team

While there are a number of theories which focus on needs as a driver of motivation, Victor Vroom’s Theory of Expectancy rather thrives on the outcomes. To clarify, while Herzberg and Maslow make the case for motivation being something that is dependent on need, Vroom suggests that the best motivation is to concentrate on the result of work as being the ultimate goal. He splits the process down into three sections – effort (for which motivation is essential), performance, and outcome. The theory is that if the employee is sufficiently motivated to achieve the results, their performance will be better as a result, and the outcome will to some extent take care of itself as a result of improved performance – which will itself be a result of greater effort.

A History of Expectancy Theory

Victor Vroom is a much-respected professor and researcher in the business world, and works at the Yale Business School as well as serving as a consultant for some of the world’s most successful companies. This elevated status is due in no small part to his expectancy theory of motivation, which addresses the reasons why people follow the path that they do within corporations. His proposition was that behavior results from choices made by the individual where the choice exists to do something else. The underlying truth in this theory is that people will do what works out best for them. The important element is the outcome.

Related: Reward your team with fun team building activities

Vroom worked on this theory with fellow business scientists Edward Lawler and Lyman Porter. The theory dates back to 1964 and is still widely used by professors. While the process is characterized as Effort, Performance, Outcome, and more specifically as E>P (increased effort leads to a greater performance) and P>O (increased performance brings a better outcome), he takes notice of the fact that greater effort will not happen all by itself. What makes a satisfactory outcome for one individual may not necessarily work for another.

Clearly the theory has convinced many, as Vroom has been much in demand since the theory was unveiled, and major companies such as American Express have taken great care to solicit his opinions. While the Expectancy Theory may seem simple and largely self-explanatory, Vroom does make specific reference to elements which can easily be ignored, and without which the theory would not work. It is therefore beneficial to take not only the three factors above, but Vroom’s three “Variables”.

Understanding the Three Factors

The core variables in the theory of expectancy are Valence, Expectancy, and Instrumentality. The meaning that these variables have is as follows:

Valence – the importance that is placed by the individual upon the expected outcome. If the outcome for a project’s successful completion is that the individual will be rewarded with more important projects when they would actually rather be rewarded with time off, they will place less value on the outcome, and their motivation to perform well will suffer, leading to reduced effort. Ensuring that the valence of a task is at a suitable level is a significant motivation

Expectancy – the belief that increased effort will lead to increased performance. Expressed in more simple terms, this means that if you put in more effort, the results will be better. This obviously depends to some extent on having the resources, the skills, and the support to get the job done. While effort is undoubtedly important it is not quite accurate to say that more effort will always mean better results. More effort on its own may well simply be wasted effort, if the person doing the work is using the wrong tools, is the wrong person or is working with people who have limited interest in reaching the same outcome.

Instrumentality – this is the belief that if an individual performs up to a certain level, they will be rewarded with an outcome that will be beneficial to them. It is one thing to tell an individual that, should they meet their performance targets, they will be rewarded with a beneficial outcome, and another to convince them of that. The important factors in Instrumentality are:

an understanding that performance equals outcome (so the reward depends upon the satisfactory performance)

a sense of trust that the people who promise the reward will deliver

trust in the capacity of the people judging the performance and the outcome

Therefore, the Theory will only work in practice if the individual recognizes that they need to perform, and trusts the people in control to judge their performance and deliver what is promised.

Using the Three Factors to Motivate in the Workplace

The three factors of the theory of expectation as set out above all have their part to play in the workplace. Along with what has been learned from Herzberg and Maslow’s theories, we can take their insistence on the needs of an employee and put them in a goal-oriented context by applying Vroom’s theories.

Firstly there is the issue of valence. Does the motivation exist to complete a task well if the outcome is uninspiring? Surely not, therefore to ensure the maximum motivation, it is ideal to offer something which will be coveted. This is perhaps the most important level of the E>P>O equation. The effort will rise to meet the outcome. How this is used in the workplace will depend on what the company can deliver.

Then there is the issue of expectancy. Effort will only lead to performance where the conditions exist to make it so. In the simplest terms, you might be able to deliver a fine reward to someone who can build a kennel for your dog. But if you only hand them two planks of wood and a broken screwdriver, you may as well offer them a trip around the world for all the good it will do. You cannot expect someone to meet their goals if you do not present conditions which make this possible. All the effort in the world will not make it happen.

Finally there is the issue of instrumentality. This is important in workplaces where big rewards have been offered before, and in those where it is done for the first time. There is little point in a small-income business to offer a sports car as an incentive for better performance, as there is little likelihood of them delivering it. Equally there is limited reason to offer a chocolate bar as the reward for a project which will make a company a million dollars, as it just seems like a slap in the face. Equally, if rewards have been offered before and the task completed only for the company to express their regrets and fail to pay out the reward, the chance that people will trust enough to put the effort in again is greatly reduced.

Team Motivation Through Reinforcement Theory

Team Motivation Through Reinforcement Theory

The concept of reinforcement theory is an old idea, which has been used in many different settings for many different purposes. If you have a pet dog, the chances are that you have used reinforcement theory in training it to behave the right way – a treat for sitting, rolling over and walking when you ask it to, and a punishment for climbing on the furniture or going to the toilet in the house. It is not, however, limited to dogs, although the way it is applied changes depending on whom the theory is being practiced on. For humans, something as crude as a piece of candy to reward a good deed will not be as effective, but the concept of rewarding good practice and punishing bad holds firm. Reinforcement theory has been established as successful and coherent, and it is a valid method of ensuring the best performance.

A History of Reinforcement Theory

We are all conditioned to act in certain ways based on certain stimuli. This is something that is visible in most things we do. From something as simple as waking up and getting out of bed when an alarm goes, to calling the fire department if we see a fire, our responses to certain situations are more or less instinctive, as we are not automatons, we do have some leeway in exactly how we respond. The knowledge of how we respond to stimuli was articulated in 1911 by E.L. Thorndike in what he called the “Law of Effect”. Essentially, this lays down that in a situation where normal results can be expected, a response to stimuli which is followed by something good will become more “right” in our minds, while a response followed by something “bad” will become more “wrong”.

To take this theory and apply it practically, as children we are still learning and our parents will usually use positive and negative reinforcement to apply lessons. Practically, if we eat up all our vegetable when we may not necessarily want to, we will be given a pudding after dinner. If we push our sister over, we may be sent to our room or to sit in the corner and think about what we have done. These reinforcement steps may be applied as often as possible until we always eat our vegetables and refrain from pushing our sisters over.

Behavioral conditioning is a subject which some consider controversial and even cruel, but there is a strong body of opinion which suggests that it is absolutely necessary. B.F. Skinner responded to arguments that human drives needed to be respected by saying that people learn behaviors based on what resulted from them. If somebody is of a mind to transgress because they enjoy transgression, but find that the result of their conduct is reduced freedom, they will become less likely to transgress so often. The thought of transgressing can become painful when associated with the idea of what will result. This theory is known as “behaviorism”.

Behavior Modification in Four Steps

Once we have accepted that there is a truth to the theory of reinforcement, it is important to look at how the theory can be applied in terms of ensuring the desired behavior. The message of reinforcement theory is that it is possible for you to modify behavior in yourself or in others by associating undesirable behaviors with undesirable outcomes. In order to be fully “scientific” and guarantee the desired results from a program of behavior modification, it is worth following a strict pattern and recording the results faithfully. By referring to the results it is possible to see what patterns of modification work best. The following is a trusted four-step pattern for behavior modification:

  1. Define the behavior to be modified.
  2. Record the rate at which that behavior takes place.
  3. Change the consequences which result from that behavior.
  4. If this does not succeed in preventing the behavior, change the consequences to a greater or lesser extent.

By working through this model as often as is necessary it is possible to change the behavior of an individual from being detrimental to being positive in most cases. The form that this pattern might take practically in a workplace is as follows. Person A has a tendency to leave their work station and go and speak to their friend, Person B. Person A is perfectly capable of delivering good work when they keep their mind on it. The distraction is infringing on Person B’s work, too, and they do not have the willpower to refrain from chatting with Person A. In order to ensure that both people’s work is as good as it can be it is necessary to stop Person A from behaving in this way. Thus we have defined the behavior to be modified.

It is then necessary to see how often this happens. If it happens three times a day outside of scheduled breaks, and goes on for ten minutes at a time, then half an hour is lost to this behavior in a given day. If it is allowed to continue, this can build into hours lost in a given week – in fact, in a five day week, five “person hours” are lost to this behavior – half an hour each day for Person A and half an hour for Person B. As yet, nothing is being done. There are numerous things that could be tried here. Simply telling them to return to their workstation is one. If this works in reducing the amount of time lost, then a positive result has been achieved.

However, this may mean that Person A simply changes tack and goes to chat with their friend when you are not in the vicinity. Most offices now, however, have software which records the amount of time an employee stays away from their work station. By checking the time lost in a given day, and tallying the times that Person A and B were both inactive, it is possible to record how much time is lost when you are away from your desk. This can then be addressed in a number of ways. One way may be to stagger the lunch breaks of the members of the team, ensuring that Persons A and B cannot take lunch together as they would prefer. By checking how this affects the conduct of Person A you can see if this is working. As time goes on you can apply a number of different methods and settle on the one that works best.

Appropriate Uses in the Workplace

As things stand, it is really up to the employer, line manager or other supervisor to decide how to apply reinforcement and behavior modification in the workplace. The above example is one case where it can be helpful, but behavior modification is not limited to cases of deliberate transgression (although if the transgression is deliberate it will be more likely to build a clear, causal link in the mind of the individual). Behavior modification can also be used to aid a situation where an employee is working less effectively than they might for reasons other than rule-breaking. People have different ways of going about their jobs, but if one or more employees have a technique that is hindering their results, then behavior modification can form part of their coaching.

Reinforcement theory can also play a part in rewarding employees. If the members of a team have risen above and beyond what is expected of them, it is usually within the capability of a company to deliver some form of reward such as a team lunch. The knowledge that they can have a leisurely two-hour lunch break on the company if they consistently hit targets and exceed expectations is something that will remain in the minds of employees. They will be encouraged to continue the good work by the knowledge that their ability to exceed expectations has been noted and rewarded, and may be rewarded again.

Object-Oriented Theory of Team Motivation

Object-Oriented Theory of  Team Motivation

Motivation is not all about philosophical needs, of course. A lot of people work better when they have the concrete facts in front of them – something to work towards, something to avoid. Different things motivate different people, and in any given team or workforce, there will be a mix of these people. As Herzberg’s Theory suggests, what will motivate each individual will be a mix of satisfaction and non-dissatisfaction. This is similar to the old theory of the “carrot and whip” – based on the hypothesis of riding a horse and using the carrot to encourage it to speed up, and the whip to prevent it from slowing down too much. Then there is also the idea of the plant – seeing a worker as a “plant” who, given the right mix of the already-discussed factors, will flower beautifully. The carrot, the whip, and the plant are united into the heading of “Object-Oriented Theory”.

The Carrot

The “carrot” as a theory takes its lead from horse-riding and dates back to the middle of the 20th century. The idea is that a cart driver would tie a carrot to a long stick and dangle it in front of the horse or donkey which was pulling his cart. As the donkey moved forward towards the carrot, he would pull the cart and driver forward, ensuring that the carrot always remained beyond his reach until such time as the driver slowed down and stopped, at which point – should he so desire – the driver could give the carrot to the horse as a reward for doing what it has been encouraged to do.

For the employer, this can perhaps be read in a number of ways. Looking at how the “carrot” theory works, it is quite easy to assume that the “carrots” offered to employees should be continually moved beyond their reach, and this assumes that the employee is as stubborn and witless as a donkey. This would be a rash assumption to make, and continually moving the point of reward away from the employee could be seen as a disincentive. Not delivering on a promise is always likely to annoy workers rather than stiffen their resolve to meet the new goals.

It could, however, also be argued that the carrot on the stick is something which should not just hang there within easy reach. The employee will need to keep testing themselves, but as long as they meet their challenges they will be rewarded at the end of their efforts. In the theory detailed in the first paragraph, there is a defined end point. The important element of the theory is that if someone has the promise of a reward at the end of their work, they are likely to keep striving for it. If that reward is continually denied them even at the end of their work, however, do not be surprised if it ceases to work.

The Whip

In different cultures it is known by different names, but the second part of the “Carrot” theory is the Whip. There is a long history of terms and sayings attached to the idea of having an element of threat involved in motivating a group of employees, or anyone for that matter. “Spare the rod and spoil the child”, for example, is an old proverb meaning that if you never punish someone for transgressing, they will come to believe that they can transgress as and when they wish. In the old “Carrot” theory, the way it works is that if the employee tired of chasing after a carrot that never seems to get any closer, simply slows down, a quick smack with the whip will make it speed up again.

The theory of motivation by threat of punishment is one which needs to be handled very carefully indeed. Not only is it absolutely illegal in many places to physically discipline workers, but other forms of threat can have a detrimental effect on the workforce. An employer, team leader, or manager with a reputation for flying off the handle when things are not to their satisfaction may get results from some people, but this method can lead to a culture of fear within a company or department, and stifle performance in order to simply get the work done.

It is left up to the person providing the motivation to decide to what extent and in what way they will use the “whip”. There can be initiatives which combine the carrot and the whip – for example, in a one-off situation over the course of a day or so, the person or people who have performed worst in the team can be required to buy coffees or any other small reward for those who have performed best. A “forfeit” system can also be applied, but it is dangerous to apply anything too humiliating in this situation. The limits of the system need to be clearly defined. If it is something so meaningless that it won’t be taken seriously, the whip ceases to be a motivation. If it is too stringent it becomes the whole focus and can infringe upon performance.

The Plant

An element of objected-oriented motivation which, is essentially separate from the above, but not incompatible with them, is known as “Plant” theory. Take as your example a simple house plant. In order to ensure that a plant flourishes it is important to give it the best combination possible of different nourishing elements. Most plants will require sunlight, warmth, water, and food in order to grow in the way you would wish. By the same token, employees will be motivated by a combination of factors.

The average employee will require motivation in many of the forms discussed by Maslow and Herzberg, and because humans are not all the same it will be a matter of judgment to ensure that each employee gets the right amount of each factor. This can be something as simple as getting the balance of “carrot and whip” motivation right. It is important, in many managers’ eyes, to get the balance right between the arm around the shoulders and the boot up the backside. Making an employee feel valued and supported without letting them become coddled is important, as is ensuring that they know they have to perform without making them feel like they have a gun against their head.

Taking three of Herzberg’s essential elements of motivation as an example, some employees work best with the prospect of challenge in their work, while some will work better with the goal of recognition. Others, equally, will want simply to get through as much work as they can while doing the work to a high level of quality. It is important to take into account the differing “buttons” that need to be pressed in each staff member to ensure that they do their job as well as possible. It is many people’s view that the team which will work best is the one that has a combination of people who work well under different motivations. This way, tasks within the team can be assigned in a balanced way and ensure the best performance from every individual, and consequently the best performance from the team. The “Plant” theory, as applied here, is about knowing which plant requires which type of nourishment in which measure. By getting the balance right you can ensure the best “greenhouse” arrangement.

The Different Types of Teams

The Different Types of Teams

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a team as a number of persons associated together in work or activity. Teams are formed for many purposes.  Examples include project teams, ad-hoc teams, quality improvement teams, and task forces.  Sometimes the team is formed to work on a goal as an adjunct to a traditional hierarchy in an organization.  At other times, the team is designed to replace the hierarchy.

Several roles help to keep a team operating smoothly.

Team Leader:

  • Moves the team to accomplish its task
  • Provides a conducive environment for getting the work done (location, resources)
  • Communicates with the team

Team Facilitator:

  • Makes things happen with ease
  • Helps the group with the process
  • Enables the group to produce the “how” decisions

Team Recorder:

  • Writes down the team’s key points, ideas and decisions
  • Documents the team’s process, discussions, and decisions

Time Keeper:

  • Monitors how long the team is taking to accomplish its tasks
  • Provides regular updates to the team on how well or poorly they are using their time
  • Collaborates with the team leader, facilitator and others to determine new time schedules if the agenda has to be adjusted

Team Members:

  • Displays enthusiasm and commitment to the team’s purpose
  • Behaves honestly; maintain confidential information behind closed doors
  • Shares responsibility to rotate through other team roles
  • Shares knowledge and expertise and not withhold information
  • Asks questions
  • Respects the opinions and positions of others on the team, even if the person has an opposing view or a different opinion

The Traditional Team

There are several characteristics common to traditional teams.

  • A team gains a shared understanding and purpose among team members, as distinguished from a group.
  • Teams require mutually agreed-upon operating principles such as agendas, procedures, and decision-making processes.
  • A team is interdependent; everyone works for the good of the team, not for oneself.
  • Effective teams distinguish task from process. How they do things (the process) is just as important, if not more important, than what they do (the task).

Self-Directed Teams

A self-directed team is a team that is responsible for a whole product or process.  The team plans the work and performs it, managing many of the tasks supervision or management might have done in the past.  A facilitator (selected by the team or an outside individual) helps the group get started and stay on track.  The facilitator’s role decreases as the team increases its ability to work together effectively.


An e-team is a group of individuals who work across space and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of communication technology. Members have complementary skills and are committed to a common purpose, have interdependent performance goals, and share an approach to work for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

Geographically dispersed teams allow organizations to hire and retain the best people regardless of location.  An e-team does not always imply telecommuters, individuals who work from home. Many virtual teams in today’s organizations consist of employees, both working at home and in small groups in the office, but in different geographic locations.

The benefits of an e-team approach are:

  • Workers can be located anywhere in the world
  • Virtual environments can give shy participants a new voice
  • Members have less commuting and travel time, so they tend to be more productive
  • Companies gain an increasingly horizontal organizational structure, characterized by structurally, and geographically distributed human resources.

There are a few caveats when using e-teams.  They frequently operate from multiple time zones, so it is important to make sure that there is some overlapping work time.  In addition, unless a camera is used for meetings, working virtually means that there is no face to face body language to enhance communications.  Therefore, intra-team communications must be more formal than with a team whose members meet physically.  Care also needs to be taken to make sure no one is left out of the communications loop just because he or she is not visible.  E-teams demand a high trust culture.

Building Consensus in a Team

Building Consensus in a Team

Consensus is a point of maximum agreement so action can follow. It is a win-win situation in which everyone in the team feels that he or she has one solution that does not compromise any strong convictions or needs. To reach consensus, team members share ideas, discuss, evaluate, organize, and prioritize ideas, and struggle to reach the best conclusions together.

A good test for consensus is to ask the question “can you support this decision?” If everyone can support it, the team has achieved 100% consensus.

Consensus is not always the best strategy. In some cases, reaching consensus does not result in a better decision or outcome. For example, team members are capable of unanimously agreeing on a completely incorrect solution to a problem. But generally, reaching consensus remains a highly desirable goal.

To make consensus work, the team leader must become skilled at separating the content of the team’s work (the task) from the process (how the team goes about doing the task). But the process should get the most attention.  A facilitative leader helps a team to solve its own problem.  The problem-solving process is as follows:

  1. Identify the problem or goal.
  2. Generate alternative solutions.
  3. Establish objective criteria.
  4. Decide on a solution that best fits the criteria.
  5. Proceed with the solution.
  6. Evaluate the solution.

Everyone involved in the process should understand exactly which step is being worked on at any given point. When team members sense a problem, they are usually reacting to symptoms of the problem. But they are the side effects of the real problem which usually lies below the surface.

Strategies for Setting Team Goals

Strategies for Setting Team Goals

Effective goal setting is essential to the success of a team. Goal setting, however, requires careful strategy and execution. Simply writing down a list of things to do is not goal setting. Goals need to be made on an emotional and intellectual level in order to be achieved successfully.

Related: Goal Setting Outcome Based Team Building

Listening to Emotions

Teams often fail to reach their goals because they ignore the emotional aspect of goal setting. Emotions affect every aspect of a person’s life. They influence health and factor into how well people perform in a team. Feelings towards goals, determine whether or not they are achieved. Feelings of obligation will only motivate someone so far. Goals need to be based on personal vision in order to be effective. Vision statements allow teams to create goals that relate to their convictions and emotions.

  • Recognize team values: Reflect on what the team truly value and how these values will shape the team’s future.
  • Consider team goals: What do you want the team to be like in the future?
  • Write it down: Draft a vision statement, and revisit occasionally to make any necessary adjustments.


Teams often fail to achieve goals when the number of things they need to do overwhelms them. Goals must be prioritized. It is not possible to concentrate on every goal at once. They should be ranked in order of importance, so that plans can be made accordingly. It is essential to have balanced goals that reflect all areas of life. Personal values and visions should be used to prioritize personal and professional goals.


Sensory gating is the process that the brain uses to adjust to stimuli. There is a direct connection between the ability to filter out distracting stimuli and performance. Stress, anxiety, and depression can alter the chemistry of the brain and reduce the effectiveness of sensory gating. In order to prevent cognitive issues related to gating, it is important to try re-gating. Gating can be improved by using relaxation techniques that help the mind focus and filter out the distractions. Setting goals require focus and a calm atmosphere. Before setting goals, attempt to use relaxation techniques such as meditation to clear the mind of distractions.

Encouraging Teamwork

Encouraging Teamwork

For every team member that believes and works for the team the chances of success go up exponentially. That is the reason why it is so important in teamwork and team building, as it provides a greater chance of success.

Some Things to Do

  • Promote an active learning climate for the team
  • Try to relate the team building strategies to the team’s work
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with new strategies
  • Constantly evaluate both your output and your process. In short, ask regularly, “How are we doing?

Some Things to Avoid

  • Being aggressive — instead of assertive
  • Failing to let others express their opinions
  • Inadequate planning

Some Things to Consider

Encouraging teamwork means making a commitment, and requires practice. The process is not instant and take some time, so be patient. Do not be discouraged by mistakes, learn from them.

Team Building Quotes From George S. Patton

Team Building Quotes From George S. Patton

General George S. Patton was a senior officer of the United States Army who commanded the U.S. Seventh Army in World War II, but was known for his known for his leadership of the U.S. Third Army in France and Germany following the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Patton was a colorful character with a hard-driving personality. His success as a commander were at times overshadowed by his controversial public statements. Patton had a philosophy of leading from the front and had the ability to inspire his troop with his speeches. His strong emphasis on rapid and aggressive, offensive, often proved effective.

We have put together a collection of quotes from George S. Patton, which you can use to motivate and build your team.

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”
– George S. Patton

Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.
– George S. Patton

Better to fight for something than live for nothing.
– George S. Patton

Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
– George S. Patton

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
– George S. Patton

You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals.
– George S. Patton

Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.
– George S. Patton

We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.
– George S. Patton

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
– George S. Patton

If a man does his best, what else is there?
– George S. Patton

Always do everything you ask of those you command.
– George S. Patton

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.
– George S. Patton

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.
– George S. Patton

If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results.
– George S. Patton

There is only one sort of discipline, perfect discipline.
– George S. Patton

Rebuilding Your Team After a Setback

Rebuilding Your Team After a Setback

Are your team developing the persistence and resilience to keep getting up when they get knocked down, but they are getting weary to get themselves on their feet again without any progress? Your team needs more than the ability to get up again after a setback, they need a plan to help determine what they need to do after getting back up again.

Related: Resilience Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Finalize The Goal

The team needs to settle on a definitive goal that they want to reach. Determine what that goal is and remember that goals shapes plans, plans shapes action, action achieves results and results bring success. If your team cannot finalize their goal they will not be able to turn their failures into successes. It is always better for your team to aim at something they want, even if they miss it, then get something they did not aim to get and did not want. If the team looks long enough for what you want, they are almost sure to find it.

Order The Plans

There is no guarantee that the plan will be carried out correctly, the way the team envisioned it. But if the team neglects the plan, chances for success will be slim.

Risk Failing by Taking Action

Planning alone will not bring your team success, they have to take action. Moving forward on a plan and actually doing it always involve risk. The team has to put themselves on the line if they are going to reach the finish line.

Welcome Mistakes

Encourage your team that mistakes are not to be avoided but embraced. Mistakes are signals that the team is moving into new territory, breaking new ground and making progress.

Advance Based on Character

Every time a team faces a mistake and attempt to move forward, it is a test of character. After a team has been knocked down and they had the will to get back up, the intelligence to plan a comeback and courage to take action, they had a defining moment. In these moments the team is defined as achievers or quitters. Being prepared for these moments and knowing they are coming, increases your team’s chances of winning their way through it.

Develop New Strategies to Succeed

After your team has developed a plan and put it into action, they are still not finished. In fact, if your team wants to succeed, they are never finished. Success is a journey and a continual process. Your team will never create the perfect plan or execute it without error. They will never get to a point where they no longer make mistakes or fail. Failures are merely milestones on the success journey.


Source: Failing Forward, John C. Maxwell

How To Build a Persistent Team

How To Build a Persistant Team

Persistence in a team is that little difference that makes a big difference. It is a quality that separates teams that achieve success from those who only dream about success. Nothing worth achieving comes easy and your team will have to develop tenacity and persistence to be successful. These two important qualities are mainly learned from developing the habit of following through on commitments when the team members do not feel like it. The following is a four point plan for encouraging stamina and resistance in your team.

Related: Resilience Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Find a Purpose

Having  a sense of purpose keeps a team going in the midst of adversity, it is the fuel that powers persistence. The resolution to succeed is one of  the most important desires your team should have, and that resolution comes from having a sense of purpose.

Eliminate Excuses

Having desire alone is not enough to get your team through failures, they also need to learn to forget about their excuses and keep moving forward. No matter how many missed opportunities your team has had or mistakes they made, they must never make excuses. Encourage your team to take complete responsibility for themselves and keep on trying.

Develop Some Incentives

Good incentives go a long way to encourage your team to remain tenacious. Giving  your team worthwhile incentives to win short races will help attaining a long-term goal seem less formidable. The incentive must match the goal. Don’t make incentives for small objectives too big otherwise you might undermine the team’s desire to keep going. Keep the following points in mind when developing incentives for your team:

  • Reward only after the goal is reached
  • Divide the process into stages to multiply the rewards
  • Include others to increase accountability and make achievement more enjoyable

Related: Reward your team with fun team building activities

Cultivate Determination

To develop long term persistence in your team, you need to cultivate inward determination on a continual basis. Keep on inspiring your team with stories of people who tried and failed but kept going.


Source: Failing Forward, John C. Maxwell