Category Archives: Culture

Examples of how small wins can build a more engaged, innovative & productive culture

What is the small wins way?

What is the small wins way?
When managers, leaders and business owners ask me about small wins they often start with: Can small wins be applied to …………….(fill in the blank). It could be innovation, leadership, change, productivity, engagement etc. The answer? Yes it can. I believe there is a small wins way. It’s a way of thinking and behaving. It’s a way of creating and innovating. It’s a way of improving, changing and growing. It’s a way of starting and ... Read more

Have you had a few little breakthroughs today?

Have you had a few little breakthroughs today?
I love the idea of little breakthroughs. For too long we have all been seduced by the idea that a breakthrough has to be big, game-changing or disruptive. But perhaps there are also smaller, everyday varieties. I came across the expression little breakthroughs from author, Daniel Coyle who is the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code, The Little Book of Talent,Lance Armstrong’s War, and The Secret Race and Hardball: A Season in the Projects. I quote from a recent blog ... Read more

Have you had a small win today?

Have you had a small win today?
My wife who is a journalist came rushing down yesterday to tell me that someone who was an expert in their field had agreed to appear in a segment she was putting together. She had a small win. And according to research by Teresa Amabile having a small win or making progress each day is perhaps the best way to engage and motivate knowledge workers. So here is a big idea. Why not capture and reflect on your small wins each day. Perhaps name it the small wins achievement journal. In a similar ... Read more

What’s the secret of continuous improvement?

What’s the secret of continuous improvement?
Feedback! This was beautifully illustrated to me with my daughter at her school recently. She is entering her critical final years at a private school (lucky for her). The principal highlighted to the parents that the school had built a powerful feedback system for all their final year students. She gave the example of a student obtaining say a mark of 10 out of 15 for an essay at the beginning of term. The teachers then kick into action and give some practical, specific and actionable ... Read more

How small wins can build an innovative culture

How small wins can build an innovative culture
One of the big advantages of adopting a small wins approach is the impact on culture. I have argued that the best way to get leaders and their teams to become more innovative is to encourage them to regularly tackle an innovative project. And this project should be small, something they care about and have the resources to implement. By doing a small wins innovation project you not only achieve a result but you have  a greater appreciation of the process itself. You become more open to new ... Read more

What are small wins?

What are small wins?
The concept of small wins was first coined by Organizational theorist Karl Weick. He made the point that many social problems seem so big (e.g. world hunger) that they feel overwhelming resulting in inaction and feelings of helplessness. I quote from his seminal 1984 article on small wins -Redefining the scale of social problems: “The massive scale on which social problems are conceived often precludes innovative action because the limits of bounded rationality are ... Read more

What do high-performing, innovative teams have in common?

What do high-performing, innovative teams have in common?
Diversity. This diversity can take many forms. For example in: – perspectives - personality - roles - experience - skills - age and sex Having greater diversity in a group means the range of ideas or solutions expands dramatically. It also means that there is less chance of groupthink hence decision-making should be more effective. But there is one catch. Diverse teams still need to interact and communicate intensely. In short: Diversity plus collaboration equals innovation success. ... Read more

9 ways leaders can celebrate small wins

9 ways leaders can celebrate small wins
One of the features of the small wins approach is the emphasis on celebrating at the end of a project. In fact, part of the reason I like small wins is because the projects are small and frequent, there are there are many more opportunities to celebrate. Remember the win could be the attainment of a goal and/or a new insight or piece of learning. But many leaders don’t know how to celebrate with their group or team. Part of the reason according to BJ Fogg, PhD, Director, Persuasive ... Read more

Six ways leaders can reduce the risks of innovation

Six ways leaders can reduce the risks of innovation
Innovation involves trial and error, risks and failure. We all know this. But there is a problem. Most leaders and managers don’t enjoy the emotion of this. Who would? Why take a risk they  feel when the returns are uncertain? So lets deal with the emotions of this because innovation is vital. So here are a few suggestions to address how leaders feel about risk: 1. Start small. The entire basis of small wins innovation is getting more leaders to innovate, more often by going small. ... Read more

What is an effective innovation KPI for leaders?

What is an effective innovation KPI for leaders?
We all know KPI’s are important. In theory they are a guide to what you and your team believe to be important and serve as a form of evaluation (i.e. to what extend did you achieve your KPI’s). One of the problems leaders have wrestled with is what is an appropriate and effective KPI for innovation? If it is for the people responsible for innovation then there are a number of measures. For example: – time to market – sales of products less that 3 years old – ... Read more