We’re heading into one of my favourite times right now: closing on D-Day! (That’s Delivery Day) Motivation should be at an all-time high!

Next week we have an event that the team has been working to for 6 months. Speakers are flying in (or driving across Sydney which may take longer), the menus are set, guest name badges are being printed. It’s incredibly exciting, but that’s not what this blog is about. It’s about the inevitable fatigue that creeps in, in the final days before delivery of any project. You’re SO so close and yet it can seem so far off.

I’ve read that most falling-asleep-at-the-wheel car accidents happen within 5 minutes from home. I imagine it’s the same phenomenon here. You’re so close, you just want to rest – but you CAN’T!!!

I’ve coached some incredibly impressive executives over time, a great many who were delivering projects regularly.

This is my top seven unmissable strategies to deliver the best results, in terms of overcoming that pre-delivery fatigue.


Not just the project deliverables, but your own personal compass. What drives you, what motivates, you, what irks you?

Being clear on your absolute priorities allows you to fight for the most important bits and let go the rest.

The alternative is the leader who fights for everything with equal fervour. They quickly feel like the boy who cried wolf: when something really is the most important, their team is unresponsive.


It’s a picture, right? Not a tag line, but a visual, best created with story.

Be clear on how is this project going to change lives. Might be your team’s lives, or your customer, your stakeholders, but find the story in the tasks you’re asking your team to perform. By understanding the impacts on people or profit or whatever drives your team, they’ll be more aligned to a good result.

Of course, being clear on what drives your team is a given, right?

Dan Pink’s TED talk, The Puzzle of Motivation might be useful.


Effective workplace communication is both the free-flowing of ideas and the ability to comfortably say ‘ok stop now, we need to focus’.

As with the other points so far, this is not something you can start when the pressure mounts, it needs to be your Modus Operandi. That way when you need to hit the trenches, you have the dance perfected.

All of those are groundwork, laid over time. Here is my pick of the best quick fixes once the heat is on.


Many teams bring in the cupcakes and chocolate at 3:30pm or pizza delivery dinners for the team working back. The sugar /carb high they deliver is going to take away brain power when it leaves their bodies. Instead, the high performance teams bring in a fresh fruit box and bottles of water.

If you want to get really specific, check out this menu from Best Health… beef and seafood for high energy or bananas, nuts and water for improved focus… actually their whole list of foods has desirable impacts for those around you and many are easily incorporated into an office snack box.

Or get really serious about boosting the team’s mental capacity and surprise them with a mindfulness session or a yoga/boxing instructor to shake up the energy.

Sounds like fun? It’s also going to help them with proper rest later. That oh so important rest.


It may seem counter-intuitive, but I’ve learnt by observation and first hand, that when you’re busiest? That’s when solid sleep is most important.

Haven’t we all done months at a stretch of ridiculous hours to get a project off the ground? And that can blur into years in a blink.

There’s volumes of data and hard-fought research available, but here’s my own. For me now, sleep takes a high priority. With 7 hours a night I think more clearly, I get more done, I don’t sweat the small stuff and I eat more healthily. Oh and I might be friendlier too, I think my kids and my team appreciate that one!


Most of the time. Perfection can kill your success, although of course sometimes it’s the only way. You can judge that line best when you’ve got clear priorities, a good flow of communication with your team and adequate rest.


Introduce stand-up meetings. Making them regular, short and stand-up keeps things moving quickly, it keeps communication flow open and it’ll encourage everyone to sit less… for a few minutes at least. Bonuses all round!

That’s my favourite pick, what’s yours? How have you kept your team motivated in the lead up to project delivery? What keeps YOU motivated and energized?


Cath Nolan

An executive coach and MD here at Gender Gap Gone, Cath is renowned for her expertise in individual and organisational development. With over 16 years experience consulting to over 500 businesses globally, Cath has coached over 3000 individuals and worked with some of Australia’s best loved and most recognised brands.

Cath is a frequent key note speaker nationally, invited to share the stage with leaders of industry on Leadership and Career Advantage, particularly for women and diversity groups.

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