Momentum > Urgency

Let’s talk about motivation. More specifically let’s talk about what leadership can do to help motivate a team.Once upon a time, a director of product management and I were butting heads. Let’s call him J (not his real name, or even his real initial).J was unhappy with the pace at which the developers were delivering. His usual approach to hastening development was to set arbitrary deadlines to create a sense of urgency.It wasn’t working.Despite J’s best efforts at inspiring the developers to work harder and faster, progress was moving too slow for his liking.I was in an engineering leadership role, so J tried pushing on me to push harder on the engineers. Things came to a head when J said to me, in a tone of utter exasperation, “Come on! You know programmers. You have to light a fire under them to get anything done!”Well, no. I don’t know that. In fact, I don’t think that’s true at all.Granted, pressure can expedite delivery. However it comes at a cost, and it’s a cost tha…
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