I am sitting here in the hotel with my husband. We aren't really on vacation. It is a vacation of sorts I suppose. Dig down and it is actually work travel for me.
One of the teams I manage - that I have managed for right at four years - won a national level award. It's an FLC-IPA award. Every year the FLC honors those of us who work in federal labs for successfully transfering technology for use. Our award was an IPA (Interagency Partnership Award) - only one of these awards is offered a year as compared to the Technology Transfer Awards. So what does that boil down to? Basically my team won this in collaboration with our Navy partners and we were all honored and packed onto a little stage with a bunch of lights shining on us while they said something about what we did - but I didn't hear any of that.
A few months ago I was whining to my mentor about something - I don't remember what - and she told me how important it is to find what drives your people on your team. Some people are driven by raises and promotions, some are driven by awards and recognition and some are driven by other things.
Me? I am not driven by awards. Ok, it is nice. We have enjoyed a nice expenses paid "vacation" tremendously. I have been impressed by my sister in laws ability to step up and take the reigns with the kids for a few days. AB and I have really had a nice time connecting together. We have eaten fabulous (Nola on the Square), fabulous (Salt of the Earth) food. We have gone on tours that we would never take our kids on (Fallingwater and through multiple turn of the century churches with amazing architecture).
I tend to be a bit of a nervous person. I worry about tripping when walking up to accept an award. I don't care to be in the limelight (yet I don't really mind public speaking when I can rehearse). I worry about saying stupid things. I don't care to have my name called out over a microphone. Attention? Not my thing.
Today I got a few e-mails. The first was from our media person at the lab sending notes to start setting up interviews. First up, one of our local news networks next week.
Heartburn. I procrastinated that reply while I wondered if I could get out of it. My husband reminded me how nuts I was.
I will do it, but my head might spin a bit before and I will blush horribly watching myself on the TV later that evening.
The other e-mail that I got? One of the guys I have worked with on a few projects in passing - and who is the lead design engineer for one of the biggest programs for my lab - sent me a note. He asked me if he could set up a meeting with me and some of his engineers who are trying to make some sector connections and could we collaborate on a new proposal? YES!
Elated! I sent a reply to that e-mail right on back!
What drives me?
I am a Capricorn. I like to climb. Being known in my organization, being networked with others, being the go to person for others - that's what gives me that kick. Knowing and being known on a first name basis by those across my lab and up the entire chain of my management. That's what drives me. Being known for doing good work.
Yes, my mentor was right - some people are driven by awards and external recognition (a few of my team members fit this well) - but not everyone is driven by that.
My job going forward? Being a good team leader and not ignoring the things that don't drive me. Pursue those awards. Don't ignore and avoid the media and communications people. Buck up and push it forward for the team.
Because the vacation and end results are pretty neat.