It’s easy to overlook the ones you love the most. Okay, maybe love is too strong, but let’s say that in the world of project management or change implementation it is easy to overlook the effort we should spend with our most trusted allies – our project team players – BEFORE the start of the next big change project.

We want to challenge you to do 3 things to maintain your strong relationship with your project team players in advance of your next project’s official kickoff:

Host a lessons learned roundtable.

There is plenty to gleam from recent initiatives that can help us to maintain strong momentum or even improve our momentum the next time around. Let’s not assume that the lessons from our last event really clicked with everyone on the team. Some of us could stand a chance to be reminded of what is essential to fix in order for expectations to be met at the next “at bat.” Be sure to recall that most of what your team did in your last few projects worked brilliantly, and is worthy of reflection as well! The team should walk away from the roundtable feeling empowered, equipped, and energized for the next challenge.

Invite them to be a part of the product/workflow assessment.

You rely on your chosen Project Team Partners for a reason. They’re trustworthy, smart, curious, and they get things done. Help them to buy-in and fully invest their best talents for your next project by exposing them as early as possible to the benefits of the change and the risks of not moving forward in a scenario where they can truly “kick the tires.” When they are allowed to have an early voice to the change ahead, they’ll help you to identify blind spots and potential blockers to a successful implementation.

We get it – maybe you were handed down a directive and you didn’t get to be involved in an assessment phase. If you’re on the unfortunate end of this scenario, do what you can to get in some detective work to find out who conducted the initial assessment and get them to share some notes for your team on how they came to the decision to change. Being given a bit of the “why” story can help your team to ramp up their passion for the project – and this includes helping you to get geared up, too. Trust us, if you’re not excited to implement this change, good luck getting your team to take the wheel and steer everyone to a smooth landing.

Know where they want to go.

We’re not talking where they want to go for coffee or lunch (although great leaders know this kind of data, too). We’re talking where do the members of your project team want to go professionally? Take a deep breath here. Let’s remind ourselves that actively developing our team and being in open dialogue about development doesn’t mean we’re nudging people to leave us. We’re looking to align their development aspirations with the work ahead to drive purpose and a deeper meaning beyond simply embedding a new workflow or a new widget for your organization. When your team has a personal interest in a few key aspects of the work ahead, they’ll be quicker to voice risks and suggest improvements along the journey. It’s a win for everyone – and the bottom line.

Got a few other ideas that have been a difference-maker in maintaining your Project Team’s performance? Feel free to drop us a line in the comments section below!