Eyes on the Prize… But Would $10 Million Distract You?

Would $10 million distract you?

How does a team get focused when there is a lot to distract them?

Even when team members are passionate about the outcome, distractions and lack of time and resource are always an issue.  Julie Anderson, the co- leader of this amazing project at HP used to use the term “Blood Donor Staffing” to describe the challenge of getting team focus with people who were assigned to a project team as part timers on top of their full time jobs.

So, how will the Ryder Cup captains deal with blood donor focus?  The PGA has taken only a one week break in the very intense competition for the FEDEX point championship and its  $10 million distraction.  One week when so much is riding on the outcome is not much time to get a group of individuals focused into a team.  And there are players from both the European and American teams who are in the hunt for very big money based on FEDEX standings.

We will not know what is said and felt by the players as they grapple with keeping their attention on the Ryder Cup competition.  As professionals, we hope that they can indeed focus their attention and energy on the competition at hand.  But just like your project teams, they will have other concerns competing for their attention.

  • If you sponsor teams, here is an opportunity to see the impact of distraction and over-commitment.
  • If you manage projects, ask yourself what you would do if you were Paul Azinger or Nick Faldo.  You will have to get the most out of talented team members who have a lot on their minds that is outside the project at hand.  Yes, they want the win- of course they do!  But you have no bonuses and no promotions to hand out.  Their play on your project will be very visible and carries lots of weight- but their full time jobs are waiting for them and sapping their attention.

What’s a Captain/ Project Leader to do?