Why Small Victories (in Work & Life) Set Up Big Wins


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I’ve gained weight. I am 12# fatter from when I left my 9-5 job. It’s one of the costs associated with leaving an active job for creating a business that has a fair amount of desk time.

About a month ago, I finally had it. I became determined to get back into my workout routine and stop the madness. Just this week, as the Halloween candy extravaganza came to end, I was quite nervous as I went to pull on my ‘only in shape’ work pants. I held my breath as I pulled them up, voíla…button-able. (Insert victory dance). 

Time + effort = progress (It sure was nice having a small victory).

Read on or, if you prefer, watch the video below where I discuss:

* What happens when you get this wrong (ever hear yourself say “Gosh, it feels like no one cares about what we are doing”…ahem, you definitely want to watch!)

* What happens when you get this right (good things, lots of good things)

* 3 ideas on how you can start getting this right…today!!

You can create the same for your employees. 

If I didn’t lose a single pound along the way to my 12# goal, I’d have to wait 6 weeks before a hint of progress! Talk about falling off the wagon to wallow in cookie dough…what would be the point of all my effort?

This is a human reaction. Not a personal life response vs. work response. We all need the following equation in life and work: 

time + effort = progress (bonus points if you validate along the way)

Expecting people to crank out effort, effort, effort…day after day after day and not see progress is a recipe for indifference and giving up. Your basically describing a chain gang at that point. Your employees cannot thrive without something to fuel them, some validation…it is vital for employee morale, sustained strong performance, and motivation (which all further contribute to decreasing turnover, customer satisfaction, and on and on).

Most people get caught up in the day to day or in the end result, or don’t think acknowledgement is warranted, or they just forget. When you are a leader and ‘in the know’, you forget that others aren’t privy to progress and how they contributed to it.

“Of all the things that can boost inner work life, the most important is making progress in meaningful work.”
— Harvard Business Review

Here are some ideas to getting this right:
Get yourself a system: I read about a CEO who rated at the bottom 6% of recognition and caring about his employees, he decided to fix that asap. He created a list of people he cared about, home and at work. Every Wednesday and Friday, he would pause and give himself 15 minutes to think if anyone did something he wanted to congratulate them on, that he was proud of them for. One year later, he was in the top 94% in the category of recognition of efforts.

Walk the floor: Preferably, first thing in the morning before the day gets away from you and so you have a pulse on the day. It’s 2 birds here. 1: it’s just polite to greet everyone when you get there, 2:you can acknowledge what you see and hear.

Thoughtful gestures: I used to work for two ladies who would always celebrate your birthday with whatever food you wanted and your work anniversary with a thoughtful card and a small gesture. Every single one of us loved the bounty on birthdays. And whenever I got my anniversary card, I was always so happy about it. They gave time + effort that I really appreciated.

If you are not good at this, find a way to make it enjoyable for yourself or have someone help you…it makes that much of a difference.

Benefit of the benefit: Taking steps to validate efforts and promote progress also shows that you care. How nice is it to hear ‘thank you’ when you make someone a cup of coffee? Or hold the door open? It’s an acknowledgement that says they care that you gave your time and effort for their sake.

Karyn Chylewski
I spent 20 years working in a diverse range of leadership roles before starting my leadership coaching practice. From working as a backcountry hut master to restaurant management, to leading a team in the intense pet care industry, I learned that the key to leadership success is all in relationships. I now help leaders build better connections with their team, navigate their relationships, and understand the human side of leadership so they can become better leaders, improve team morale, and achieve higher performance. I love spending time outdoors, with my family, great wine & conversations.


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