Great things are achieved when a series of small things are brought together…
Recently I spent three glorious weeks in the most sense-awakening, colourful and vibrant country that is Vietnam. One week into my trip, I was hit with a nasty flu. Me being me I kept going until it was all too much and I had to surrender to Doctor's orders to rest and dose up on antibiotics.
Venturing out for a hotel dinner, we sat down to order when a delightful cup of fresh ginger and lemon tea was placed in front of me. I was taken aback as I hadn’t ordered as yet. Through my fluey, blood-shot eyes stood a waitress, almost angel-like, saying she had heard me say I was really ill, and that this tea would fix me.
What a blessing I thought, and at that moment I couldn't have been happier. A small gesture, yes, but it was such a thoughtful one feeling as ill and vulnerable as I was. She had noticed I was sick and went out of her way to let me know and to make me feel important and cared for. The biggest thing was, it was unexpected. I started drinking fresh ginger tea as of that night and totally recovered within 4 days.
This small thing lead me to making a bigger change that impacted my holiday and health in a great way.
It got me to thinking how sometimes the smallest things can have the largest impact. It’s all about taking action and making a start.
I thought about this later and was reminded just how much impact small words or actions can have.
As a leader serving your team and organisation, you can make an impact with not a lot of effort:
- Praise and recognise others and be specific on what you are praising, so that particular behaviour continues
- Take the time to say thank you
- Encourage others no matter how small the step they have taken; one small step is a start
- Empower the space for others to dream big…one small idea can equate to a big change if one step is actioned in 24 hours the rest will follow
- Have regular one on one catch ups, some with no agenda or purpose but a personal check-in
Human being… or doing?
I still remember a one on one or WIP (work in progress) as we called them with my manager many years ago back in my corporate life. I kept talking about work, where the team was sitting against budget, and everything else work-related. My manager looked and said, “Renée, how are you?” again I kept talking about the team's results – he asked me the same question again, “Renée, I’m asking how you are?”
I was taken aback; he had the time to actually ask of how I was going personally, when my next break was and how my partner was. We chatted for 15 minutes, and it really recalibrated my mindset back into a “being” mode opposed to a “doing” mode. It showed he cared about me, not just the results my team and I were achieving. It made me realise, as a leader, I needed to do the same with my team.
So simple. So small. Outside of the normal day to day work-related conversation.
That one conversation made me look at my work-life balance, and the ripple effect meant I was even more productive and successful in my role in the time to follow....sometimes the smallest things can have the largest impact. It’s all about taking action and making a start. Click To Tweet
Small signs of progress are important
In the busyness of our work life, it can be easier to put off making that big change or implementing that idea. It's the little things that can create action and momentum, and as a leader of self and others, we can contribute to “the little things”.
There is a great book Small Moves, Big Change (Arnold, 2014). The argument in this book is, our good intentions often fail because they involve large scale change and big steps and therefore, we can often miss doing the small things. Small micro-steps, what Arnold terms ‘micro-resolutions' are much more doable, confidence-building and therefore more likely to be implemented. And when momentum begins, further change and movement is much more possible creating a reinforcing cycle of progress.
Small signs of progress are more important than we might think in building motivation and commitment. “making progress in meaningful work is the most powerful stimulant to great inner work life.”
Facilitating progress is one of the most effective ways for leaders to build motivation and commitment in those people with whom they work.
What “little thing” can you share today?
To being limitless
For more of my tips on how change can equate to growth, get in touch. I look forward to working with you in the future!
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