You know what momentum is.
You've felt it before.
It's that feeling that things are heading in the right direction; that things are going well; the future looks bright. It is like the snowball rolling downhill - as its gaining speed - it appears that the power of its momentum could make a huge difference at the bottom of the hill.
Maybe you've been on a project team that was making great progress and as things moved forward it seemed as if there were no obstacles, or any obstacles just became less of an impediment. Maybe you've experienced an organizational change or initiative that seemed to be hitting a stride and was progressing well. Or maybe you can think of a time when things for you personally or professionally just seemed to be going exceptionally well.
In all of these cases you are experiencing positive momentum. And in every case, I'm guessing you not only liked what you were experiencing, but you'd like it to continue!
When it comes to maintaining or further building that wonderful momentum, I believe there are five things that you can do to keep things on a roll or to even increase that momentum. These things apply to as the leader or a participant experiencing the wonderful phenomenon.
Observe the Momentum - The first step is awareness. You have to notice that positive things are happening and be grateful for them. You can't expand or even maintain momentum until you know it exists. In other words, without awareness you won't be able to take any conscious actions to support the momentum.
Notice the Factors - Once you that you have some momentum, you can then think about and observe what factors are contributing to this momentum. Perhaps your team is using a new tool or procedure. Perhaps the organization has just finished some positive communication or seen examples of the change being successful. Perhaps you personally have been doing something different or new that is leading to new results.
Ask yourself questions like:
What changes have led to these new results? Why are things going so well? The key here is looking for those things that may have changed or shifted that may be contributing to the momentum.
Take Responsibility - Whether you are a part of a team, just one member of a larger organization or thinking about your own personal changes, if you want to build or maintain momentum you must take action yourself. Ask yourself these accountability questions:
What can I do? How can I encourage the momentum? What role have I played in the momentum up until now? How can I help? Taking responsibility means asking these questions, and then taking action on your answers!
Be a Positive Proponent - Along with the actions you just identified, think about how you can be a positive proponent of the situation and support the current situation. This really isn't that difficult. If you have observed the momentum, talk about it. Show and share your excitement, enthusiasm and belief!
You also can be a proponent by encouraging and engaging others to take the same steps you are taking. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of ways you can encourage others to help grow or maintain the momentum. Forward this article, meet with colleagues over coffee or lunch, leave a positive for a teammate, anything to keep the effort moving positively.
Enjoy the Results - Simply enjoy the fruits of what the momentum is creating. Notice I didn't put this step near the top. If observe and then move straight to enjoy, you aren't taking the action to extend the benefits of the momentum. But, in addition to taking action, you also need to enjoy the momentum that does exist.
The reality is things won't always be moving as rapidly or positively as they are when you are experiencing the "flow" of the momentum. It is important to recognize and value the times when it is happening.
Perhaps you didn't throw the snowball that became the avalanche - it doesn't matter. And it doesn't matter what your role in the team or group is either. Every person can play a role in helping that snowball get as big and powerful as possible.
Positive momentum on something that matters may seem like a magical thing - and it can be magic. The best news is that using these steps everyone can be the magician that helps that momentum live longer and create even greater success.