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“I’m looking forward to it.”

These are five words I love to hear spoken. After being coerced so many times by my supervisors into managing projects while working as a professional, every time a teammate uttered this phrase without prompting upon receiving their task set I knew they would succeed at delivering high quality results. When I did not hear them spoken by a teammate it was most likely that teammate would not deliver results of acceptable quality, if any results at all.

Hearing the phrase was a rare event. I can recall only a handful of colleagues speaking them in context of assigned task sets. The majority of teammates received their assignments with a silent scowl or head shaking and I immediately understood they were going to burden the project by wasting time and resources. Sometimes I was granted permission to fire non-producers, but not often enough. Sometimes my requests to reward top producers were granted, but not each time. And in the case of the finest teammate I ever worked with my request for his reward was flatly denied by upper management. A recent Cornell graduate at the time, he had no problem quickly fishing up a better employment opportunity and resigned. So did I soon thereafter, never to return to professional work as an employee.

While working solo as owner and operator of my own little company this issue never arose, but I missed working with teammates who were always looking forward to the project journey ahead of us. They were a distinct pleasure to work with.

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