Category Archives: Productivity

Small wins is the ideal way to develop more productive leaders and teams

How can you be an amazing leader – everyday?

How can you be an amazing leader – everyday?
I worked with a leadership group today of a major financial institution. In my workshop I asked the group: How can you be an amazing leader – everyday? The emphasis was on the everyday. Because leadership in an organisation is often more about the everyday type rather than the big dramatic gesture. We did a Blitz and the 9 most common responses were: 1. Smile 2. Be fully present in any meeting. 3. Actively listen 4. Give immediate feedback. 5. Be energetic. 6. Conduct a quick scrum at ... Read more

When to think big – when to think small

When to think big – when to think small
There are time when you need to think big and other times when it is better to think small. These 2 different types of thinking complement one another. This is similar to Daniel Kahneman’s idea of thinking fast and slow. Here are some examples when you might want to think big: – You are feeling in the flow – Feel inspired – When you do your best thinking (I do mine first things and late at night) – In a planning or strategy session – Trying to create a ... Read more

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

How much time should leaders spend thinking?

How much time should leaders spend thinking?
Leaders are always telling me that they are so busy that they have no time to think. This comment has always amazed me because you would imagine thinking is part of the role of any leader. If they are not thinking well — who is? This is particularly important given that most work is knowledge based. Perhaps we need to start setting a thinking goal for every leader? What about this to start the ball rolling? 1% Yes — Leaders dedicate 1% of their time (they are awake) to thinking ... 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

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