Momentum: The Key to Finishing Big Projects and Leading Teams

Every year instead of setting a New Year’s resolution, I pick a word that I use as a theme throughout the year. Last year, 2018, I chose the word “momentum.” I have to give momentum lots of credit for helping me power through and finish my new book, What’s Going Well.

It’s crucial for leaders to understand how momentum works. One of the jobs of a leader is to create and maintain momentum on critical projects. You can’t talk about momentum without talking about gravity and inertia. Without straying too far into the depths of physics, in short, to get projects moving, good leaders know that the start of a project requires lots of energy and effort. To have a successful project launch, one must have laser-like focus. However, once the project launches, you must keep the momentum going, because “the middle” can be tough as gravity will continue to weigh down projects. Compared to the start, the middle can be the toughest because the initial enthusiasm fades, and there is a tendency to go back to how things were.

As a leader, you can do the same. Here are the keys to momentum:

  1. Don't have too many projects you are launching at once. Go all-in on one thing at a time until you finish.

  2. The word momentum contains the word "moment." To gain momentum, I believe you have to pay attention to the moment and pause for breaks and reflection. Also, use these moments to remember and reaffirm what you want.

  3. A project has three phases--a beginning, middle, and end. Each phase requires a different level of energy and focus, and we need to make adjustments so that momentum will carry us through until the end.