Anyone who's run a team knows these first few weeks back at work after the holidays can be tricky ones. Sure, your colleagues are returning from the break refreshed and rejuvenated (in theory), but then all that momentum you worked so hard to build the previous year seems to have gone down the drain like a half-empty glass of Jagermeister on new year's morning.
You may have your own secrets when it comes to lighting fires under their collective a**es (and if you do, let us know about them!) but just in case your attempts are falling short, here are a few "um-ok-so-it's-time-to-get-going-people" ideas that might do the trick…
1. Assign some easy-to-accomplish tasks.
Getting things done is addictive: the more you do, the more you want to do. Creating a list of simple, short-term goals for your team will get them back in the groove without overwhelming them, warming them up for the bigger projects you have in store down the road.
2. Get them excited about the future.
Have everyone on your team make a list of the things they're hoping to work on over the coming year, independent of project or business objectives. What new skills do they want to learn? What new responsibilities do they hope to take on? The idea here is to get them excited about what 2012 has to offer them personally, so encourage them to think big!
3. Give them a pat on the back.
Sometimes all that's needed to pick up the momentum is a good hard pat on the back. Go through your team's completed tasks from last year and select 20 or so key accomplishments, adding them to a new "We Killed 2011" list (if you're new to Flow, you can always just create the tasks and then complete them right away). Then invite your team so they can look over everything they did. Seeing it all in one place like that will let them relive their previous accomplishments, reminding them of how good it feels to get things done as a group.
4. Give them a reason to invest.
Create a list called "Brainstorm 2012" and invite your team to add (as tasks) whatever ideas they can come up with. They might be as simple as "get new chairs for the office" or as complex as "re-envision marketing strategy"—it doesn't matter. What you're doing is showing everyone that change is possible, their opinions count, and that they can play a part in shaping their workplace. The more someone feels they have that, the more invested they'll become overall. And the more invested they become, the harder they'll work see that investment succeed.
Every team has its own, unique personality—that's what makes working with them so rewarding—and only you know what your particular group will respond well to. The point is to be proactive about getting them to re-engage. It doesn't take long for someone to develop a new habit, good or bad, so the faster you act, the faster you'll have your momentum back again.
Now go get 'em, Tiger.