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Week 9. The Project Managers training blog by Paul Bradley SPOCE MD

Firstly, congratulations to Paul , SPOCE MD and marathon blogger who has already smashed his fundraising target with 5 weeks to go! Well done Paul and a big thank you to all of the people that helped make this happen. 

In this weeks blog Paul talks teamwork and motivation. Whatever your goals in life, we all know the power of support.

28th August 2022 - Marathon day minus 5 weeks

Teamwork and Motivation

This week began with a long weekend, meaning that I missed the regular Monday run. I could have gone training in the evening, but found myself eating birthday cake instead. Tuesday morning came and went with no running, meaning that I needed to get motivated for an evening run or an early outing on Wednesday.

The power of team

So, on Wednesday evening(!) I finally managed to pull the trainers on and complete 5 miles. This was mostly down to the motivation of my running group Team #runFAR (run For A Reason). This group caters for everyone, from runners to 'Jeffers' (run/walk), to walkers. The emphasis is on encouraging people to put their foot out the door and do something, and it works really well. We work in small groups, or pods, to help encourage people. The result is that whatever the ability, nobody is ever on their own. The faster runners often take the lead for slower pods, the walkers and jeffers encourage the faster runners with cheering, hugs and cake! Having the push/pull from top to bottom and vice works really well and this principle works the same at all levels of sport and management. The 5 runFAR pods also work well to act as a motivation factor, similar to the principle behind Maslow's Heirachy of needs.

I was watching a video on YouTube recently featuring the world record holder Eliud Kipchoge. His emphasis on teamwork is high in what they call "the long run".

"I really believe in teamwork, because you need support. At some point in your life you cannot succeed alone. There should be somebody who really upholds you. So you need somebody to support you, you need somebody to help you in training because you cannot do it alone."

Their coach also believes that this teamwork helps each member of the team.

"They have incorporated the concept of teamwork in their training and they know the benefits they gain, so they position themselves naturally. You don't have to organise them anymore as a coach. The athletes who are close, they always know the potential of each one. When somebody goes beyond, they always have a system of recalling and sanctioning one another. So that at least the ideal situation for being in a group setting, is to have maximum benefits of being in a group. They have internal reinforcement so that athletes don't waste themselves, but at the end of the day maximise the benefits of being in a team setting."

Tuckman's five stage model

This is consistent with the Tuckman team building which defines the steps of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Knowing the potential of each team member, understanding the way in which each person works, along with the strengths and weaknesses of the team is part of the performing step.

Kipchoge goes on to say:

"We don't actually discuss who's at the front or who's at the back, when somebody is speaking too much or you feel it's crucial to give advice to him then you have to do it. Everyone is free. In long runs you don't have captains, we don't have bosses, but we do have leaders and we expect everybody to be a leader in his own capacity and be in charge of the long run."

Leaders need followers, and to have followers a leader needs to have a vision that followers will buy in to. A good leader will have their followers commit to the vision by providing energy and drive, keeping morale high and empowering each member of the team, which maximises the productivity across the project.

During my training I have had many different runs. Some have been in a group on a Wednesday evening, some with just Coach Guy, and some alone. I do find it easier when running with somebody else as the motivations between each other is great. Running alone can be difficult, but you do get to dictate the pace more.

The week's training finished with a 15 mile run with my step son Oakley who will also be on the start line in October. This run was a good one and we could easily have carried on for a few more miles, but we decided to stick to the plan and finish while feeling good. So that was 20 miles for the week - a very small improvement on last week, but inspired by that last 15 miler on Friday.  Things are starting to come together once again.

About Paul Bradley

Paul Bradley is a leading authority on project management methods and techniques. With over 25 years in the industry, Paul's knowledge and experience is respected by clients, accreditation bodies and training organisations globally. Paul has been the Managing Director of SPOCE since 2005, and is an accredited trainer for PRINCE2®, APM and AgilePM®. He is a regular presenter at seminars, providing information on project implementation drawn from his expertise as an accredited Axelos P3M3® Consultant. He has had two books published to enhance the training and use of PRINCE2®. Paul is also an active member and co founder of the renown RunFAR® initiative that raises both awareness and funds for charitable causes. The #RunFAR mission is to run for a reason and share a passion for running with others.