Using Small Wins to make a real difference.
Of all the factors that promote creativity, productivity, teamwork and commitment among employees, the single most important one is a sense of making progress on meaningful work. Small signs of progress never fail to have a positive impact upon how we work and move forward BUT even small setbacks will induce huge negative effects.
Key factors that stimulate progress include setting clear goals, allowing autonomy, providing resources, giving enough time-but not too much, offering help with the work, taking real and measurable corporate and individual learning from both problems and successes and allowing ideas to flow.
All good managers should fully understand the importance of making sure that every member of a team feels personally motivated and necessary throughout the workday. The biggest success factor is built around us all making progress on meaningful work. But creating an environment that fosters progress takes some careful effort.
This has to be tempered against recognising that setbacks and disruption to achieving goals has a disproportionate effect upon attitude and motivation. Setbacks can frequently be two to three times more powerful that achieving success. This is a common situation across all branches of psychology so it is crucial in the workplace to rejoice in the small wins whenever possible as big, seismic successes and changes for the better are very rare indeed.
There are seven potential catalysts for moving a project forward;
Setting clear goals. Why are we doing what we are doing and how long have we got to achieve it? Goals should be reachable and in a realistic timeframe. Constantly changing and shifting goals spread confusion and suck the life from activity.
Allowing autonomy. Set the goal and then let your staff get there with freedom. Avoid micromanagement like the Plague as this shuts down creativity and commitment.
Providing resources. Invest in materials and infrastructure that is needed for the goals to be achieved. Running “resource-poor” projects only serves to make the staff be creative in finding new and alternative resources – better this energy is channelled into achieving the targets.
Giving enough time but don’t be too generous. Deadlines are important, but only if employees understand how the deadline benefits the mission. An occasional intense pressure time slot works well but only sparingly. Too many time-critical, short-fuse deadlines put staff onto a treadmill going nowhere fast.
Offering help with the work. Autonomy is not the same thing as isolation; staff should feel asking for support.
Learning from both problems and successes. Avoid the beatings for making mistakes – mistakes are good as long as we all learn from them.
Allowing ideas to flow. Good managers know when to shut up and listen.
Lets get this put into action for 2015!
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