Category Archives: Higher Performance

Small wins is a powerful way to lift performance. It’s actionable, concrete and effective.

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

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

How a 1% change can make a real difference

How a 1% change can make a real difference
One of my starting points for small wins is to ask managers and leaders to commit to a 1% improvement goal in the next 30 days. It does not matter what the goal is — the aim  is just to encourage leaders to start innovating. The goal is to make a small difference then see the benefits and repeat. Before you know it you (and your team) have created a new positive habit. The mechanism is small wins. One such company that does this on a systematic basis is Atlassian - a software company ... Read more

How small wins can help you achieve a bigger goal.

How small wins can help you achieve a bigger goal.
Our youngest daughter (not her in the picture) is about to obtain her learners car license. It will take her a minimum of 12 months and 120 hours of driving to achieve a provisional license (which has to be recorded in a log book). So the big goal is to obtain her license in 1 year’s time — the first time. It’s a big and important goal for her. But the only way she can get there is through a series of small wins. In no particular order she must learn how to: – Start ... Read more

This small innovative behavior will make a big difference

This small innovative behavior will make a big difference
Creativity and innovation is more than thinking in a different way. It’s also about adopting more innovative behaviors. One of the easiest and simplest behaviors that can have a dramatic impact on your creative and innovative performance is this: Capture Ideas –immediately. It could be your ideas or someone else’s. It doesn’t matter — just capture them. You can write them down, take a photo on your phone or tear them out. The important point is to capture them. ... 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

As a leader what are you and your team testing in the next 30 days?

As a leader what are you and your team testing in the next 30 days?
In much of the literature around innovation there is a strategy which talks about moving into adjacent markets. I have never really liked this description but the idea is a good one. Serving a market that is close to what you are doing at the moment makes a great deal of sense. In this example, SUBWAY is offering a range of products to the catering market (I found this outlet in the city near the business sector). In this case it builds on the strengths of SUBWAY and offers a potential new ... Read more