Marines, Iris and Motivation

iris-insideI have had the opportunity to be a part of some pretty special teams in my career. Teams that I think were far above and beyond the normal team atmosphere. What made me think of this is an article that was forwarded by a colleague of mine within IBM – it is good to see these kinds of things forwarded throughout IBM. The article is very prescriptive on how levels of management and leadership throughout the organization need to have focus on making sure creativity is not stifled in the company and over all morale remains high.

There were two teams that I have been on in my career that stand out above and beyond the other teams.

The first team where I felt like I was part of something special was the ATLASS Development team in the Marines. This team was very small and our objectives were amazingly clear and team unity was very high. Our officers went out of their way to make sure we knew we were part of something special resulting in our product being deployed around the entire Marine Corps as the standard supply tracking system. The people liked being with each other and going out during the week or on a Friday or Saturday night were common events.

With all the focus entrepreneurs and business executives place on strategy, they can lose sight of the people “in the trenches” who actually have to implement the strategy—the knowledge workers who are carrying out the work of the organization. – Teresa Amabile

The next team I felt something special with was Iris Associates.
marine-seal.jpgThis team really focused on quality of life and making sure the engineers felt like they were part of something special (Lotus Notes/Domino). Free vending, coffee, dinners and breakfast during crunch time, beer Fridays, etc. For all of the previous Iris employees out there I am sure I do not have to bend your arms to agree that those times were amazing. Product quality was there because people had an amazing attachment to the product and their areas – in short – people loved what they did. I once told my father that I have the absolute greatest job in the world. He never got into computers so he responded – “you are a professional golfer now?”. Ok, maybe he didn’t respond exactly like that but that is exactly how I felt and I told everyone!

My guess is that a lot of leaders have very little sense of the impact that they have. – Teresa Amabile

So in short – if you are a people leader or a technical leader read that article and make the people you impact and communicate with daily enjoy their jobs. It is bad enough we have to work for the man, we might as well enjoy it.

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