Reprint: R1105C What is the best way to motivate employees to do creative work? Help them take a step forward every day. In an analysis of knowledge workers’ diaries, the authors found that nothing contributed more to a positive inner work life (the mix of emotions, motivations, and perceptions that is critical to performance) than making progress in meaningful work. If a person is motivated and happy at the end of the workday, it’s a good bet that he or she achieved something, however small. If the person drags out of the office disengaged and joyless, a setback is likely to blame. This progress principle suggests that managers have more influence than they may realize over employees’ well-being, motivation, and creative output. The key is to learn which actions support progress—such as setting clear goals, providing sufficient time and resources, and offering recognition—and which have the opposite effect. Even small wins can boost inner work life tremendously. On the flip side, small losses or setbacks can have an extremely negative effect. And the work doesn’t need to involve curing cancer in order to be meaningful. It simply must matter to the person doing it. The actions that set in motion the positive feedback loop between progress and inner work life may sound like Management 101, but it takes discipline to establish new habits. The authors provide a checklist that managers can use on a daily basis to monitor their progress-enhancing behaviors.
What is the best way to motivate employees to do creative work? Help them take a step forward every day. In an analysis of knowledge workers’ diaries, the authors found that nothing contributed more to a positive inner work life (the mix of emotions, motivations, and perceptions that is critical to performance) than making progress in meaningful work. If a person is motivated and happy at the end of the workday, it’s a good bet that he or she achieved something, however small. If the person drags out of the office disengaged and joyless, a setback is likely to blame.
This progress principle suggests that managers have more influence than they may realize over employees’ well-being, motivation, and creative output. The key is to learn which actions support progress—such as setting clear goals, providing sufficient time and resources, and offering recognition—and which have the opposite effect.
Even small wins can boost inner work life tremendously. On the flip side, small losses or setbacks can have an extremely negative effect. And the work doesn’t need to involve curing cancer in order to be meaningful. It simply must matter to the person doing it.
The actions that set in motion the positive feedback loop between progress and inner work life may sound like Management 101, but it takes discipline to establish new habits. The authors provide a checklist that managers can use on a daily basis to monitor their progress-enhancing behaviors.
Artwork: Xavier Veilhan, The Big Mobile, 2004, metallic structure, 25 spheres in PVC with diameters from 29.5″ to 137.8″, Exhibition View, 3rd Biennial of Contemporary Art of Valencia
What is the best way to drive innovative work inside organizations? Important clues hide in the stories of world-renowned creators. It turns out that ordinary scientists, marketers, programmers, and other unsung knowledge workers, whose jobs require creative productivity every day, have more in common with famous innovators than most managers realize. The workday events that ignite their emotions, fuel their motivation, and trigger their perceptions are fundamentally the same.
The Double Helix, James Watson’s 1968 memoir about discovering the structure of DNA, describes the roller coaster of emotions he and Francis Crick experienced through the progress and setbacks of the work that eventually earned them the Nobel Prize. After the excitement of their first attempt to build a DNA model, Watson and Crick noticed some serious flaws. According to Watson, “Our first minutes with the models…were not joyous.” Later that evening, “a shape began to emerge which brought back our spirits.” But when they showed their “breakthrough” to colleagues, they found that their model would not work. Dark days of doubt and ebbing motivation followed. When the duo finally had their bona fide breakthrough, and their colleagues found no fault with it, Watson wrote, “My morale skyrocketed, for I suspected that we now had the answer to the riddle.” Watson and Crick were so driven by this success that they practically lived in the lab, trying to complete the work.
Throughout these episodes, Watson and Crick’s progress—or lack thereof—ruled their reactions. In our recent research on creative work inside businesses, we stumbled upon a remarkably similar phenomenon. Through exhaustive analysis of diaries kept by knowledge workers, we discovered the progress principle: Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run. Whether they are trying to solve a major scientific mystery or simply produce a high-quality product or service, everyday progress—even a small win—can make all the difference in how they feel and perform.
Of all the things that can boost inner work life, the most important is making progress in meaningful work.
The power of progress is fundamental to human nature, but few managers understand it or know how to leverage progress to boost motivation. In fact, work motivation has been a subject of long-standing debate. In a survey asking about the keys to motivating workers, we found that some managers ranked recognition for good work as most important, while others put more stock in tangible incentives. Some focused on the value of interpersonal support, while still others thought clear goals were the answer. Interestingly, very few of our surveyed managers ranked progress first. (See the sidebar “A Surprise for Managers.”)
If you are a manager, the progress principle holds clear implications for where to focus your efforts. It suggests that you have more influence than you may realize over employees’ well-being, motivation, and creative output. Knowing what serves to catalyze and nourish progress—and what does the opposite—turns out to be the key to effectively managing people and their work.
In this article, we share what we have learned about the power of progress and how managers can leverage it. We spell out how a focus on progress translates into concrete managerial actions and provide a checklist to help make such behaviors habitual. But to clarify why those actions are so potent, we first describe our research and what the knowledge workers’ diaries revealed about their inner work lives.
Inner Work Life and Performance
For nearly 15 years, we have been studying the psychological experiences and the performance of people doing complex work inside organizations. Early on, we realized that a central driver of creative, productive performance was the quality of a person’s inner work life—the mix of emotions, motivations, and perceptions over the course of a workday. How happy workers feel; how motivated they are by an intrinsic interest in the work; how positively they view their organization, their management, their team, their work, and themselves—all these combine either to push them to higher levels of achievement or to drag them down.
To understand such interior dynamics better, we asked members of project teams to respond individually to an end-of-day e-mail survey during the course of the project—just over four months, on average. (For more on this research, see our article “Inner Work Life: Understanding the Subtext of Business Performance,” HBR May 2007.) The projects—inventing kitchen gadgets, managing product lines of cleaning tools, and solving complex IT problems for a hotel empire, for example—all involved creativity. The daily survey inquired about participants’ emotions and moods, motivation levels, and perceptions of the work environment that day, as well as what work they did and what events stood out in their minds.
Twenty-six project teams from seven companies participated, comprising 238 individuals. This yielded nearly 12,000 diary entries. Naturally, every individual in our population experienced ups and downs. Our goal was to discover the states of inner work life and the workday events that correlated with the highest levels of creative output.
In a dramatic rebuttal to the commonplace claim that high pressure and fear spur achievement, we found that, at least in the realm of knowledge work, people are more creative and productive when their inner work lives are positive—when they feel happy, are intrinsically motivated by the work itself, and have positive perceptions of their colleagues and the organization. Moreover, in those positive states, people are more committed to the work and more collegial toward those around them. Inner work life, we saw, can fluctuate from one day to the next—sometimes wildly—and performance along with it. A person’s inner work life on a given day fuels his or her performance for the day and can even affect performance the next day.
Once this inner work life effect became clear, our inquiry turned to whether and how managerial action could set it in motion. What events could evoke positive or negative emotions, motivations, and perceptions? The answers were tucked within our research participants’ diary entries. There are predictable triggers that inflate or deflate inner work life, and, even accounting for variation among individuals, they are pretty much the same for everyone.
The Power of Progress
Our hunt for inner work life triggers led us to the progress principle. When we compared our research participants’ best and worst days (based on their overall mood, specific emotions, and motivation levels), we found that the most common event triggering a “best day” was any progress in the work by the individual or the team. The most common event triggering a “worst day” was a setback.
Consider, for example, how progress relates to one component of inner work life: overall mood ratings. Steps forward occurred on 76% of people’s best-mood days. By contrast, setbacks occurred on only 13% of those days. (See the exhibit “What Happens on a Good Day?”)
Two other types of inner work life triggers also occur frequently on best days: Catalysts, actions that directly support work, including help from a person or group, and nourishers, events such as shows of respect and words of encouragement. Each has an opposite: Inhibitors, actions that fail to support or actively hinder work, and toxins, discouraging or undermining events. Whereas catalysts and inhibitors are directed at the project, nourishers and toxins are directed at the person. Like setbacks, inhibitors and toxins are rare on days of great inner work life.
Events on worst-mood days are nearly the mirror image of those on best-mood days (see the exhibit “What Happens on a Bad Day?”). Here, setbacks predominated, occurring on 67% of those days; progress occurred on only 25% of them. Inhibitors and toxins also marked many worst-mood days, and catalysts and nourishers were rare.
This is the progress principle made visible: If a person is motivated and happy at the end of the workday, it’s a good bet that he or she made some progress. If the person drags out of the office disengaged and joyless, a setback is most likely to blame.
When we analyzed all 12,000 daily surveys filled out by our participants, we discovered that progress and setbacks influence all three aspects of inner work life. On days when they made progress, our participants reported more positive emotions. They not only were in a more upbeat mood in general but also expressed more joy, warmth, and pride. When they suffered setbacks, they experienced more frustration, fear, and sadness.
Motivations were also affected: On progress days, people were more intrinsically motivated—by interest in and enjoyment of the work itself. On setback days, they were not only less intrinsically motivated but also less extrinsically motivated by recognition. Apparently, setbacks can lead a person to feel generally apathetic and disinclined to do the work at all.
Perceptions differed in many ways, too. On progress days, people perceived significantly more positive challenge in their work. They saw their teams as more mutually supportive and reported more positive interactions between the teams and their supervisors. On a number of dimensions, perceptions suffered when people encountered setbacks. They found less positive challenge in the work, felt that they had less freedom in carrying it out, and reported that they had insufficient resources. On setback days, participants perceived both their teams and their supervisors as less supportive.
To be sure, our analyses establish correlations but do not prove causality. Were these changes in inner work life the result of progress and setbacks, or was the effect the other way around? The numbers alone cannot answer that. However, we do know, from reading thousands of diary entries, that more-positive perceptions, a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, happiness, and even elation often followed progress. Here’s a typical post-progress entry, from a programmer: “I smashed that bug that’s been frustrating me for almost a calendar week. That may not be an event to you, but I live a very drab life, so I’m all hyped.”
Likewise, we saw that deteriorating perceptions, frustration, sadness, and even disgust often followed setbacks. As another participant, a product marketer, wrote, “We spent a lot of time updating the Cost Reduction project list, and after tallying all the numbers, we are still coming up short of our goal. It is discouraging to not be able to hit it after all the time spent and hard work.”
Almost certainly, the causality goes both ways, and managers can use this feedback loop between progress and inner work life to support both.
When we think about progress, we often imagine how good it feels to achieve a long-term goal or experience a major breakthrough. These big wins are great—but they are relatively rare. The good news is that even small wins can boost inner work life tremendously. Many of the progress events our research participants reported represented only minor steps forward. Yet they often evoked outsize positive reactions. Consider this diary entry from a programmer in a high-tech company, which was accompanied by very positive self-ratings of her emotions, motivations, and perceptions that day: “I figured out why something was not working correctly. I felt relieved and happy because this was a minor milestone for me.”
Even ordinary, incremental progress can increase people’s engagement in the work and their happiness during the workday. Across all types of events our participants reported, a notable proportion (28%) of incidents that had a minor impact on the project had a major impact on people’s feelings about it. Because inner work life has such a potent effect on creativity and productivity, and because small but consistent steps forward, shared by many people, can accumulate into excellent execution, progress events that often go unnoticed are critical to the overall performance of organizations.
Unfortunately, there is a flip side. Small losses or setbacks can have an extremely negative effect on inner work life. In fact, our study and research by others show that negative events can have a more powerful impact than positive ones. Consequently, it is especially important for managers to minimize daily hassles.
Progress in Meaningful Work
We’ve shown how gratifying it is for workers when they are able to chip away at a goal, but recall what we said earlier: The key to motivating performance is supporting progress in meaningful work. Making headway boosts your inner work life, but only if the work matters to you.
Think of the most boring job you’ve ever had. Many people nominate their first job as a teenager—washing pots and pans in a restaurant kitchen, for example, or checking coats at a museum. In jobs like those, the power of progress seems elusive. No matter how hard you work, there are always more pots to wash and coats to check; only punching the time clock at the end of the day or getting the paycheck at the end of the week yields a sense of accomplishment.
In jobs with much more challenge and room for creativity, like the ones our research participants had, simply “making progress”—getting tasks done—doesn’t guarantee a good inner work life, either. You may have experienced this rude fact in your own job, on days (or in projects) when you felt demotivated, devalued, and frustrated, even though you worked hard and got things done. The likely cause is your perception of the completed tasks as peripheral or irrelevant. For the progress principle to operate, the work must be meaningful to the person doing it.
In 1983, Steve Jobs was trying to entice John Sculley to leave a wildly successful career at PepsiCo to become Apple’s new CEO. Jobs reportedly asked him, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” In making his pitch, Jobs leveraged a potent psychological force: the deep-seated human desire to do meaningful work.
Fortunately, to feel meaningful, work doesn’t have to involve putting the first personal computers in the hands of ordinary people, or alleviating poverty, or helping to cure cancer. Work with less profound importance to society can matter if it contributes value to something or someone important to the worker. Meaning can be as simple as making a useful and high-quality product for a customer or providing a genuine service for a community. It can be supporting a colleague or boosting an organization’s profits by reducing inefficiencies in a production process. Whether the goals are lofty or modest, as long as they are meaningful to the worker and it is clear how his or her efforts contribute to them, progress toward them can galvanize inner work life.
Managers can help employees see how their work is contributing. Most important, they can avoid actions that negate its value.
In principle, managers shouldn’t have to go to extraordinary lengths to infuse jobs with meaning. Most jobs in modern organizations are potentially meaningful for the people doing them. However, managers can make sure that employees know just how their work is contributing. And, most important, they can avoid actions that negate its value. (See the sidebar “How Work Gets Stripped of Its Meaning.”) All the participants in our research were doing work that should have been meaningful; no one was washing pots or checking coats. Shockingly often, however, we saw potentially important, challenging work losing its power to inspire.
Supporting Progress: Catalysts and Nourishers
What can managers do to ensure that people are motivated, committed, and happy? How can they support workers’ daily progress? They can use catalysts and nourishers, the other kinds of frequent “best day” events we discovered.
Catalysts are actions that support work. They include setting clear goals, allowing autonomy, providing sufficient resources and time, helping with the work, openly learning from problems and successes, and allowing a free exchange of ideas. Their opposites, inhibitors, include failing to provide support and actively interfering with the work. Because of their impact on progress, catalysts and inhibitors ultimately affect inner work life. But they also have a more immediate impact: When people realize that they have clear and meaningful goals, sufficient resources, helpful colleagues, and so on, they get an instant boost to their emotions, their motivation to do a great job, and their perceptions of the work and the organization.
Nourishers are acts of interpersonal support, such as respect and recognition, encouragement, emotional comfort, and opportunities for affiliation. Toxins, their opposites, include disrespect, discouragement, disregard for emotions, and interpersonal conflict. For good and for ill, nourishers and toxins affect inner work life directly and immediately.
Catalysts and nourishers—and their opposites—can alter the meaningfulness of work by shifting people’s perceptions of their jobs and even themselves. For instance, when a manager makes sure that people have the resources they need, it signals to them that what they are doing is important and valuable. When managers recognize people for the work they do, it signals that they are important to the organization. In this way, catalysts and nourishers can lend greater meaning to the work—and amplify the operation of the progress principle.
The managerial actions that constitute catalysts and nourishers are not particularly mysterious; they may sound like Management 101, if not just common sense and common decency. But our diary study reminded us how often they are ignored or forgotten. Even some of the more attentive managers in the companies we studied did not consistently provide catalysts and nourishers. For example, a supply-chain specialist named Michael was, in many ways and on most days, an excellent subteam manager. But he was occasionally so overwhelmed that he became toxic toward his people. When a supplier failed to complete a “hot” order on time and Michael’s team had to resort to air shipping to meet the customer’s deadline, he realized that the profit margin on the sale would be blown. In irritation, he lashed out at his subordinates, demeaning the solid work they had done and disregarding their own frustration with the supplier. In his diary, he admitted as much:
As of Friday, we have spent $28,000 in air freight to send 1,500 $30 spray jet mops to our number two customer. Another 2,800 remain on this order, and there is a good probability that they too will gain wings. I have turned from the kindly Supply Chain Manager into the black-masked executioner. All similarity to civility is gone, our backs are against the wall, flight is not possible, therefore fight is probable.
Even when managers don’t have their backs against the wall, developing long-term strategy and launching new initiatives can often seem more important—and perhaps sexier—than making sure that subordinates have what they need to make steady progress and feel supported as human beings. But as we saw repeatedly in our research, even the best strategy will fail if managers ignore the people working in the trenches to execute it.
A Model Manager—and a Tool for Emulating Him
We could explain the many (and largely unsurprising) moves that can catalyze progress and nourish spirits, but it may be more useful to give an example of a manager who consistently used those moves—and then to provide a simple tool that can help any manager do so.
Our model manager is Graham, whom we observed leading a small team of chemical engineers within a multinational European firm we’ll call Kruger-Bern. The mission of the team’s NewPoly project was clear and meaningful enough: develop a safe, biodegradable polymer to replace petrochemicals in cosmetics and, eventually, in a wide range of consumer products. As in many large firms, however, the project was nested in a confusing and sometimes threatening corporate setting of shifting top-management priorities, conflicting signals, and wavering commitments. Resources were uncomfortably tight, and uncertainty loomed over the project’s future—and every team member’s career. Even worse, an incident early in the project, in which an important customer reacted angrily to a sample, left the team reeling. Yet Graham was able to sustain team members’ inner work lives by repeatedly and visibly removing obstacles, materially supporting progress, and emotionally supporting the team.
Graham’s management approach excelled in four ways. First, he established a positive climate, one event at a time, which set behavioral norms for the entire team. When the customer complaint stopped the project in its tracks, for example, he engaged immediately with the team to analyze the problem, without recriminations, and develop a plan for repairing the relationship. In doing so, he modeled how to respond to crises in the work: not by panicking or pointing fingers but by identifying problems and their causes, and developing a coordinated action plan. This is both a practical approach and a great way to give subordinates a sense of forward movement even in the face of the missteps and failures inherent in any complex project.
Second, Graham stayed attuned to his team’s everyday activities and progress. In fact, the nonjudgmental climate he had established made this happen naturally. Team members updated him frequently—without being asked—on their setbacks, progress, and plans. At one point, one of his hardest-working colleagues, Brady, had to abort a trial of a new material because he couldn’t get the parameters right on the equipment. It was bad news, because the NewPoly team had access to the equipment only one day a week, but Brady immediately informed Graham. In his diary entry that evening, Brady noted, “He didn’t like the lost week but seemed to understand.” That understanding assured Graham’s place in the stream of information that would allow him to give his people just what they needed to make progress.
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Third, Graham targeted his support according to recent events in the team and the project. Each day, he could anticipate what type of intervention—a catalyst or the removal of an inhibitor; a nourisher or some antidote to a toxin—would have the most impact on team members’ inner work lives and progress. And if he could not make that judgment, he asked. Most days it was not hard to figure out, as on the day he received some uplifting news about his bosses’ commitment to the project. He knew the team was jittery about a rumored corporate reorganization and could use the encouragement. Even though the clarification came during a well-earned vacation day, he immediately got on the phone to relay the good news to the team.
Finally, Graham established himself as a resource for team members, rather than a micromanager; he was sure to check in while never seeming to check up on them. Superficially, checking in and checking up seem quite similar, but micromanagers make four kinds of mistakes. First, they fail to allow autonomy in carrying out the work. Unlike Graham, who gave the NewPoly team a clear strategic goal but respected members’ ideas about how to meet it, micromanagers dictate every move. Second, they frequently ask subordinates about their work without providing any real help. By contrast, when one of Graham’s team members reported problems, Graham helped analyze them—remaining open to alternative interpretations—and often ended up helping to get things back on track. Third, micromanagers are quick to affix personal blame when problems arise, leading subordinates to hide problems rather than honestly discuss how to surmount them, as Graham did with Brady. And fourth, micromanagers tend to hoard information to use as a secret weapon. Few realize how damaging this is to inner work life. When subordinates perceive that a manager is withholding potentially useful information, they feel infantilized, their motivation wanes, and their work is handicapped. Graham was quick to communicate upper management’s views of the project, customers’ opinions and needs, and possible sources of assistance or resistance within and outside the organization.
Effective managers establish themselves as resources, making sure to check in on employees while never seeming to check up on them.
In all those ways, Graham sustained his team’s positive emotions, intrinsic motivation, and favorable perceptions. His actions serve as a powerful example of how managers at any level can approach each day determined to foster progress.
We know that many managers, however well-intentioned, will find it hard to establish the habits that seemed to come so naturally to Graham. Awareness, of course, is the first step. However, turning an awareness of the importance of inner work life into routine action takes discipline. With that in mind, we developed a checklist for managers to consult on a daily basis (see the exhibit “The Daily Progress Checklist”). The aim of the checklist is managing for meaningful progress, one day at a time.
The Progress Loop
Inner work life drives performance; in turn, good performance, which depends on consistent progress, enhances inner work life. We call this the progress loop; it reveals the potential for self-reinforcing benefits.
So, the most important implication of the progress principle is this: By supporting people and their daily progress in meaningful work, managers improve not only the inner work lives of their employees but also the organization’s long-term performance, which enhances inner work life even more. Of course, there is a dark side—the possibility of negative feedback loops. If managers fail to support progress and the people trying to make it, inner work life suffers and so does performance; and degraded performance further undermines inner work life.
By supporting progress in meaningful work, managers improve employees’ inner work lives and the organization’s performance.
A second implication of the progress principle is that managers needn’t fret about trying to read the psyches of their workers, or manipulate complicated incentive schemes, to ensure that employees are motivated and happy. As long as they show basic respect and consideration, they can focus on supporting the work itself.
To become an effective manager, you must learn to set this positive feedback loop in motion. That may require a significant shift. Business schools, business books, and managers themselves usually focus on managing organizations or people. But if you focus on managing progress, the management of people—and even of entire organizations—becomes much more feasible. You won’t have to figure out how to x-ray the inner work lives of subordinates; if you facilitate their steady progress in meaningful work, make that progress salient to them, and treat them well, they will experience the emotions, motivations, and perceptions necessary for great performance. Their superior work will contribute to organizational success. And here’s the beauty of it: They will love their jobs.
A version of this article appeared in the May 2011 issue of Harvard Business Review.
It suggests that you have more influence than you may realize over employees' well-being, motivation, and creative output. Knowing what serves to catalyze and nourish progress—and what does the opposite—turns out to be the key to effectively managing people and their work.
Small Wins Create More Motivation
Speaking of motivation, the way you perceive a goal can make or break your outcome. By changing the way you think about small wins, you can also work happier. And that's crucial for your motivation.
A small win is a concrete, complete, implemented outcome of moderate importance. By itself, one small win may seem unimportant. A series of wins at small but significant tasks, however, reveals a pattern that may attract allies, deter opponents, and lower resis- tance to subsequent proposals.
Small victories are anything you accomplish that aligns with your intentions. They can be related to work, personal or professional relationships, habit changes, and or finances. Small wins can be easy to gloss over, especially if you've been raised on a diet of self-criticism and perfectionism.
- Repeat a celebratory mantra. ...
- Take a personal day. ...
- Text bomb your group message. ...
- Treat yourself with self-care. ...
- Write down your feelings. ...
- Surprise yourself with a gift. ...
- Zoom party with your besties. ...
- Make yourself a trophy.
- Eating a Bomb Breakfast. ...
- Finishing a Good Book. ...
- Basking in Fresh Air. ...
- Adding to Your Savings. ...
- Ticking an Item Off Your To-do List. ...
- Drinking All Your Water. ...
- Buying Yourself Flowers. ...
- Staying Within Your Budget.
Sharing Small Wins Boosts Motivation and Morale
In any area of our lives, celebrating the smaller wins on the way to the bigger milestone helps maintain our motivation and morale for finishing the task at hand.
Discuss the importance of a "small win." Define the term "small win." Small wins form the basis for a consistent pattern of winning that attracts people who want to be allied with a successful venture. Define the term "psychological hardiness" and provide an example.
When I interviewed Amabile for The Executive Edge: An Insider's Guide to Outstanding Leadership, she described the pluses of small wins: Small wins can give people an enormous boost emotionally, and can really raise their level of intrinsic motivation for what they're doing and lead to creativity.
Key Points. The Progress Theory was developed by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer. They determined that achieving consistent, small wins was the biggest indicator of a rich inner work life. This rich inner work life, in turn, enables people to be more productive, more engaged, and more creative in the work that they do ...
Any time you meet an established goal, it's an employment accomplishment. This might be an individual or group goal, but any project that has specific parameters and timetables, and is completed according to plan, should be considered a win.
When you sit down and look at your task-list, do you feel overwhelmed? It’s time to start focusing on the power of small wins. Read on to learn how!
Or, maybe wonder how in the world you’re ever going to accomplish your sales goals, when they are MASSIVE?. It’s time to start focusing on those small wins.. Plus, it always feels so good to celebrate a win, no matter how small or big!. Plus you feel the glorified feeling of success, which makes you want to push further and harder if hitting $1 million in revenue is your version of success in your business.. And, one other note, if you start taking the steps towards success and end up failing to meet a goal, but you worked darn hard on the task, you should still celebrate that!. So, even though Kara had to start building up those small wins, it felt good to experience a win.. The woman went on to explain that she had just delivered a check to a grocery store a few weeks ago for $16 million.. At a time when she was struggling, she was just friendly and ended up getting some incredible advice that helped propel her products into conventional grocery stores!. I don’t know about your store, but when I go to my grocery store, I always see hint , right on the shelves with the plain water and the enhanced water!
Generally I can’t be bothered to jot down, although I need to. Nevertheless, as soon as I get going, I discover myself getting right into a circulation relatively rapidly. As soon as I end my job, I at all times get a way of accomplishment. Even when I write 500 phrases as an alternative of my common goal of no less than 1000 phrases a day, I nonetheless really feel nice figuring out I’ve made a begin on my venture. I get a sense of ahead momentum. That is the ability of small wins.
You continue to must do one thing to get that little win that may then compound into a number of small wins.. Every small win can simply roll into the subsequent and earlier than you recognize it, you’ve proved to your self that you would be able to really get issues performed, even if you happen to thought you couldn’t be bothered beforehand.. There are small wins which are out of our management however there are lots of small wins that we will affect ourselves and do off our personal again to set our day up effectively.. Small wins are highly effective as a result of they’re simply achievable in comparison with large wins.. Small wins are sometimes stepping stones towards bigger wins.. Though it will take a very long time to pay your debt off, you’ll know that you just’re nonetheless working in direction of your aim in some type and $100 a month will really feel like a small win in itself.. Simply taking step one may be the toughest however that first step is a small win in itself that would create a cascade of additional small wins.. Each time I step off my bike I really feel as if I’ve gained a small win that helps me to remain motivated for the remainder of the day.. We’re used to celebrating our large wins however hardly ever can we have fun our small wins.. It’s essential to have fun your small wins as a result of they’re simply as essential to acknowledge as your large wins.. It’s as much as you the way you have fun your small wins however ensure you do in a small means!. Surprising small wins really feel nice however I might argue that the small wins inside our management really feel even higher as a result of we will affect them ourselves.. Each time I write about one thing I care about and am all in favour of I get a small win.
Mere small wins, can make a huge difference in how people feel and perform – being less disappointed and more motivated and adding up to big achievements.
I’m talking about the story of Jim Cotter.. Well, now that his wife had passed on, he decided to be that person!. He decided to start small by painting a fire hydrant which gave him the first of his small wins.. “A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves.. “Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.” Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.” 1. However, if a goal or task is smaller, we are more likely to get started on it.. So, rather than starting big and flaming out and thus wasting time and energy, we are better off starting small and building some momentum.. As we accumulate small wins, we can use that momentum to work towards more small wins until we achieve a significant breakthrough.. By taking small steps, it won’t even seem like we are making much effort and our big goal will be achieved before we realize it.. In his great book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less , author Greg McKeown discusses a concept called Minimum Viable Progress.. “Instead of starting big and then flaring out with nothing to show for it other than time and energy wasted, to really get essential things done we need to start small and build momentum.. As Amabile and Kramer advise in their book The Progress Principle : “Keeping a journal focused on progress and setbacks will help you in many ways.. When you hit a milestone or achieve a small improvement, don’t simply breeze past it.. Until next time, keep chasing those small wins and as always…PYMFP!. Have you used the concept of small wins in your life with success?
The Power of Small Wins This article was first published on the Enterprise India Fellowship Blog – [ https://letsenterprise.in/blog/the-power-of-small-wins/] It’s easy for me to feel like I haven’t been doing as much as I should, and that I’m making very little, if any, progress towards my goals. This feeling probably comes from my inability to take … The power of small wins Read More »
This feeling probably comes from my inability to take a moment to stop and celebrate how far I’ve come.. When I receive feedback, I often feel like I forget to take the time to soak it in – especially when there are no areas of improvement, and I’ve received positive comments.. Not taking a moment to pause and give myself a pat on my back has led me to be very critical of myself; because I don’t celebrate wins when they happen, I forget that they happened in the first place.. This makes it impossible for me to assess how far I’ve come, because any improvements from the past are quickly brushed aside, whereas the smallest of mistakes are magnified to ensure they don’t happen again.. It was a major improvement from all of the other times I’ve attempted to get vaccinated alone.. I was nervous when I went in this time as well – I didn’t know what to expect; while I had managed to get through my first dose without a mishap, I hadn’t gotten that vaccine alone.. After I got my second dose, I was pleasantly surprised as I realized that while I had whimpered and squirmed the entire way there, I had managed to get the second dose of my vaccine without hurting myself or anyone else – which, all things considered, was a pretty big win actually.. Whenever I hear of someone doing something cool, my instinct is to applaud them for how well they did it, but I don’t stop to think of every small win they’ve had which compounded to their big win.. Simply put, this phenomenon is the notion that small steps, and small actions, can only have a small impact; and it takes a mammoth action to achieve something with a noticeable impact.. [blockquote text=”I’ve internalized the traditional definition of what constitutes a win, which is perhaps the underlying cause behind my inability to celebrate small moments like this.. A friend of mine recently shared a wonderful, effortless way to keep track of these moments – she has dedicated Notion pages for each domain in her life; from her personal workouts to her professional commitments, and she makes it a habit to fill these in whenever she feels like she learnt something new along the way.. If my journey is the chain, then the small wins I’ve had along the way are what hold these links together.
When people realize that they have clear and meaningful goals, sufficient resources, and helpful colleagues, they get an instant boost to their emotions, motivation, and their perceptions of the work and the organization.
In an analysis of knowledge workers’ diaries, the authors found that nothing contributed more to a positive inner work life (the mix of emotions, motivations, and perceptions that is critical to performance) than making progress in meaningful work.. The respondents ranked five tools—support for making progress in the work, recognition for good work, incentives, interpersonal support, and clear goals—in order of importance.. The respondents ranked five tools—support for making progress in the work, recognition for good work, incentives, interpersonal support, and clear goals—in order of importance.. Early on, we realized that a central driver of creative, productive performance was the quality of a person’s inner work life—the mix of emotions, motivations, and perceptions over the course of a workday.. When we compared our research participants’ best and worst days (based on their overall mood, specific emotions, and motivation levels), we found that the most common event triggering a “best day” was any progress in the work by the individual or the team.. (See the exhibit “What Happens on a Good Day?”) What Happens on a Good Day?. Progress—even a small step forward—occurs on many of the days people report being in a good mood.. Were these changes in inner work life the result of progress and setbacks, or was the effect the other way around?. In fact, our study and research by others show that negative events can have a more powerful impact than positive ones.. In jobs with much more challenge and room for creativity, like the ones our research participants had, simply “making progress”—getting tasks done—doesn’t guarantee a good inner work life, either.. Supporting Progress: Catalysts and Nourishers What can managers do to ensure that people are motivated, committed, and happy?. When managers recognize people for the work they do, it signals that they are important to the organization.
Find out why small wins can have a powerful effect on workplace culture. Trickle enables companies to get real-time insights on employee sentiments.
Setting smaller goals, which are far more attainable and can be achieved regularly has a better impact on workplace culture, as long as these small wins are properly celebrated.. Some employees might think “This small task that we did is pointless in the grand scheme of things, we still haven’t achieved our ultimate goal.” Let’s call these people, ‘Big Picture Thinkers’ or BPTs for short.. Whilst others might be thinking “Well, this was a small achievement, but it means we are one small step closer to our goal, let’s celebrate.” Let’s call these people “Little Pixel Thinkers” or LPTs for short.. This can be applied to workplace wellbeing in the following manner – A window on a building (an unhappy employee) that isn’t quickly repaired (had their feelings acknowledged and given help to solve the source of their unhappiness) can lead to more broken windows (unhappy employees).. Get real-time insights into the sentiment of their teams Empower their employees to improve their wellbeing Recognise employees and celebrate team wins Enable employees to rank what is most important to them in a workplace setting
Small wins give you the power to change yourself and your life. Every day you move closer to the best version of yourself that you can be.
“I’ve found that small wins, small projects, small differences often make huge differences.” — Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Every day is a step in the right direction.“Track your small wins to motivate big accomplishments.” — Teresa Amabile. Make your small wins as small as possible. Need Little Effort: your new habit needs to be so small that it makes you feel embarrassed if you skip a day.. Small wins need to be too small to fail.. “I will (small win) every single day for at least (amount of time) minutes.”. Although I can’t force you to practice your small win every day, here are a few things that might help:. In the beginning, it helps to complete your small win at the same time and location every day.. Inserting your small win into an existing routine is a simple way to ensure you’ll practice your new habit.. Small wins mean progress every day toward your life goals.. Practice your small win for a couple of days and something funny will start to happen: you will continue .
Bloomberg's Eric Schatzker had a wide-ranging interview this week with Larry Fink, head of the $5.1 trillion fund behemoth Blackrock. The entire interview is worth a read for anyone interested in inve
The entire interview is worth a read for anyone interested in investment management but Fink’s thoughts on the retirement crisis stood out to me:. But as you know—investing, the whole concept of compounding—if you’re not building your nest egg year after year after year, you’re not going to have enough savings to retire with dignity.. But I also think his thoughts about health care and saving for retirement were enlightening.. Health and wealth were the two biggest worries for those in or approaching retirement.. The difference here is that while science will continue to progress and make advances in health care, it’s really difficult to make advances in retirement saving when you’ve already missed the boat.. I like the way Fink frames health care as being immediate while building a nest egg takes time to compound.. Obviously, your health is important but at least there are short-term solutions to most health issues.. Former President Dwight Eisenhower once told a group he was giving a speech to the following when discussing how he would prioritize his presidential duties: “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important.. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”. Things that are important (retirement planning, saving, insurance needs, etc.). “We’d experiment, try different things until we found stuff that worked,” Bowman [Phelps’s coach] told me.. Once one small win takes place, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.. Everyone worries about predicting the next global financial crisis — something each individual has no control over– yet very few people worry about preventing their next personal financial crisis — something that’s far easier to prepare for.
Find out how to achieve your big goals by allowing yourself to celebrate small wins. Discover the necessary steps to get you motivated.
We all want to be successful in our goals and celebrate small wins along the way.. Our mindset can bring us down when we feel we’ve failed, and this usually results in giving up on dreams and goals.. Successful people make huge achievements all the time, so how do they do it?. It took Edison almost 10,000 attempts to create a lightbulb—that’s a huge amount of “failures” before finally finding success.. What about our small wins successes?. We tend to focus on the end goals rather than the small and significant steps we take to get us there.. Appreciating our small wins and the small steps we take can be the difference between failing and succeeding.. It’s all about understanding the importance of the present moment and taking the time to celebrate small wins as they come.. ⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄In other words, reading those 10 pages a day may seem insignificant in the moment, but they are all important in the steps towards achieving your goal and learning how to focus .. With all this in mind, it is the small wins we achieve that need to be acknowledged and appreciated for what they are.. Motivation is a huge factor of whether or not we succeed, and being able to reward ourselves and celebrate small wins is the key.. Make sure you create small, achievable goals that will allow you to see your progress more clearly, as these small successes will help you feel good with each little step.. Sometimes, we can give up because we are unaware of how close we are to success and forget how much we’ve done.. Learning how to celebrate small wins is key if you want to keep up your motivation while pursuing your goals.
Sometimes I can’t be bothered to write, even though I want to. However, once I get going, I find myself getting into a flow rather quickly. Once I finish my task, I always get a sense of accomplishment. Even if I write 500 words instead of my usual target of at least 1000 words a day, I still feel great knowing I have made a start on my project. I get a feeling of forward momentum. This is the power of small wins. The other day I was scrubbing my kitchen floor and thinking of how dirty it had gotten. It had been a hell of a long time since I’d last cleaned it and seeing it fresh and lemony gave me a great sense of satisfaction. Because it was only 10 am, I felt like I’d earned a rest if I wanted one. However, after completing my task, I wanted to do more and more. So, I grabbed some bin bags and had a clear out for the next several hours. That’s the momentum you can get from having a small win, especially when it’s early on in the day. Of course, a small win doesn’t just happen by itself usually. You still have to do something to get that little win that can then compound into multiple small wins. When you set your day up to get small wins, it helps to encourage a positive day all round. You feel like you’re being productive and getting little niggly jobs done that you may have otherwise put off if you weren’t in the mood. Each small win can easily roll into the next and before you know it, you’ve proved to yourself that you can actually get things done, even if you thought you couldn’t be bothered beforehand. Examples of small wins Here are several examples of small wins; paying a bill on time making your bed in the morning finishing a workout finishing a book putting money in your savings cooking a new recipe well getting an unexpected discount on something you want finding cash in an old coat pocket getting a compliment from a stranger learning an old friend is coming to town unexpectedly getting your washing done before 9 am writing a journal entry Small wins VS big wins There are small wins that are out of our control but there are many small wins that we can influence ourselves and do off our own back to set our day up well. Small wins are powerful because they are easily achievable compared to big wins. Big wins don’t come around too often and they usually take longer to chip away at. For example, you may win some money in the lottery or pass your driving test. These things happen rarely or only once whereas small wins can be completed throughout your day. Small wins don’t require a huge amount of effort and yet they can yield a great return in the form of motivation to do more productive tasks, in my opinion. Small wins = accessible goals Going after small wins that you can control is a great way of practising goal setting. It’s easy to set big goals for yourself only to fall short and feel bad about yourself. However, if you break your goal down into small wins, you can still work towards a larger goal in the form of smaller chunks. For example, when I was cleaning my kitchen floor I wanted to then clean the rest of my apartment, I had a good clear out of old things I didn’t use anymore and once I was done with that, I cleaned the carpet, behind the sofas, the sinks, polished and then completed all of the washing with the help of my partner. Small wins encourage a decent amount of motivation and help you experience goal setting in a less intimidating way than setting your sights on climbing Everest right off the bat. Small wins are often stepping stones toward larger wins. For example, let’s say you wanted to try and get out of debt. Seeing how much debt you’re in can feel overwhelming, so much so that you may feel unable to move or even think about what to do next. However, if you break down your ultimate goal into smaller, much more achievable wins, your path may look like something like this; Limit your spending on non-essential items > get under $30,000 of debt > get under $20,000 of debt > get under $10,000 of debt > get under $5000 of debt > pay off the last of your debt. And you can break down your goal even more by paying off $100 a month. Even though it would take a long time to pay your debt off, you’ll know that you’re still working towards your goal in some form and $100 a month will feel like a small win in itself. It’s a sense of forward momentum you otherwise wouldn’t have had. Whilst $100 a month is a small amount compared to your debt, you’ll feel much better knowing you’re taking control of your situation. End procrastination with small wins I love the idea of the power of small wins because I myself suffer from procrastination from time to time, especially when I’m writing. Writing is one of my favourite things to do. I love to learn and then share what I’ve learned on this blog. However, even when I have something I want to write about that I’m excited about, I still find myself reaching for my phone or doing more research than I actually need to. Part of the fun of writing is simply starting and seeing where it takes you. When I’m writing an article, I like to aim for at least 1k words. If an article is anything less than 1k words, I usually think it isn’t helpful or interesting enough. When I find myself procrastinating I try and write a few hundred words to I get my main idea out and then at least I have nailed down my topic. That in itself is a small win that allows me to easily come back later and expand on what my idea was. Similarly, if I’m looking to do some washing, I’ll put all of my clothes in piles, ready to be put in the washing machine. However, once I reach that point, I usually just go ahead and do several rounds of washing. The small win of organising my dirty laundry is enough to push me on to complete the whole task in one go. Just taking the first step can be the hardest but that first step is a small win in itself that could create a cascade of further small wins. Before you know it, you could have completed your whole task! Small wins are trackable Small wins are very trackable. For example, I bought an exercise bike in 2020, right after the pandemic hit. I wanted a way of exercising if I was going to be stuck inside for months on end. I’d never used an exercise bike consistently before, let alone owned my own, and I decided it would be a good idea to track my progress. My aim was to cycle at least 10 miles a few times a week. This usually amounted to 10 miles in 30 minutes and 250 calories burned. I went ahead and created a Google Sheets document to log my workouts. Seeing my miles and calories mount up was fun and motivating. Every time I step off my bike I feel as if I’ve gained a small win that helps me to stay motivated for the rest of the day. If you keep a gratitude journal (or a daily journal) why not use a few lines to jot down your small wins? That way you can go back over the days, weeks and months to see what went well for you. Build better habits with the power of small wins The idea of building habits can be daunting. After all, most of us are rather stuck in our routines. Taking a big step our of our routines can be challenging. You might try something new once in a while but but find it hard to replicate on a consistent basis. For example, if you’ve never been to a gym before, you might find yourself going once, feeling sore and exhausted afterwards and then never going back. Taking an hour and a half out of your day to go to the gym is a big chunk of time, especially if you work long hours and have children to look after. It can almost be inconvenient to travel there and back. However, if you have never had a habit of going to the gym, you can build up to it instead by doing smaller activities at home using bodyweight exercises. Sometimes we feel as if we need to ‘go big or go home‘, but this is far from the truth if you ask me. Especially when it comes to bodyweight exercises. You can do a killer body workout in 20 minutes at home using only your own body, especially if you’re a beginner. In many cases, you’ll actually get a better workout doing this than if you went to the gym using lots of fancy equipment. Many people fall into the trap of going to the gym for the optics, in my opinion. It looks like you are doing more in a room full of equipment but it’s not necessary at all. An intense 20-minute workout doesn’t take long to complete and it is a powerful small win to have, especially when you do it a few times a week. Some of my best workouts have been with only the weight of my body which builds functional strength. Celebrate your small wins We’re used to celebrating our big wins but rarely do we celebrate our small wins. It’s important to celebrate your small wins because they are just as important to acknowledge as your big wins. They remind us that we’re doing well and heading in the right direction, even if things may seem glum on the face of things. It’s up to you how you celebrate your small wins but make sure you do in a small way! The power of small wins is underrated In my opinion, the power of small wins is underrated. Small wins make us feel good and that’s all anyone wants, isn’t it? Unexpected small wins feel great but I would argue that the small wins within our control feel even better because we can influence them ourselves. These kinds of small wins motivate us because we learn that we can achieve more than we thought prior. This intern gives us a sensation of satisfaction that can’t be bought. It’s a sense of satisfaction that is pure but fleeting and therefore makes it even more precious and attractive to grab hold of again and again. It becomes addictive. When you see your body changing in the mirror you want more and more of the same! The power of small wins gives you a sense of forward momentum, as if you’re heading in the right direction. This was one of the main reasons I started this blog. I wanted a sense of control, a sense of momentum around something I cared about. Every time I write about something I care about and am interested in I get a small win. It’s a feedback loop of positivity and satisfaction. What will you do today to get your small wins? — This post was previously published on PROJECTENERGISE.COM. *** From The Good Men Project on Medium What Does Being in Love and Loving Someone Really Mean? My 9-Year-Old Accidentally Explained Why His Mom Divorced Me The One Thing Men Want More Than Sex The Internal Struggle Men Battle in Silence Join The Good Men Project as a Premium Member today. All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. A $50 annual membership gives you an all access pass. You can be a part of every call, group, class and community. A $25 annual membership gives you access to one class, one Social Interest group and our online communities. A $12 annual membership gives you access to our Friday calls with the publisher, our online community. Register New Account Log in if you wish to renew an existing subscription. 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You still have to do something to get that little win that can then compound into multiple small wins.. There are small wins that are out of our control but there are many small wins that we can influence ourselves and do off our own back to set our day up well.. Small wins are powerful because they are easily achievable compared to big wins.. Small wins are often stepping stones toward larger wins.. Even though it would take a long time to pay your debt off, you’ll know that you’re still working towards your goal in some form and $100 a month will feel like a small win in itself.. I love the idea of the power of small wins because I myself suffer from procrastination from time to time, especially when I’m writing.. Just taking the first step can be the hardest but that first step is a small win in itself that could create a cascade of further small wins.. Every time I step off my bike I feel as if I’ve gained a small win that helps me to stay motivated for the rest of the day.. We’re used to celebrating our big wins but rarely do we celebrate our small wins.. It’s important to celebrate your small wins because they are just as important to acknowledge as your big wins.. It’s up to you how you celebrate your small wins but make sure you do in a small way!. Unexpected small wins feel great but I would argue that the small wins within our control feel even better because we can influence them ourselves.
Jorge Mateo’s bases-clearing double in 8th powers Orioles to 5-3 win over Red Sox in Little League Classic ›
As the Orioles have done for much of the season, they battled back Sunday and beat the Boston Red Sox, 5-3, in the Little League Classic thanks to a clutch go-ahead bases-clearing double by Jorge Mateo in the eighth inning.
There was just baseball to play — all the hoopla of the autographs and hill sliding at the Little League World Series complex had passed.. The Orioles (63-58) crammed inside the tight clubhouse of Bowman Field, an experience more akin to their minor league days.. “I tried to treat it as a normal start as best I could,” right-hander Dean Kremer said.. The kids have been great all day, and the atmosphere and the game, it brought back memories of being a kid.. “In ’18, ’19, you play them and you can get to them in the last third of the game,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.. “Now, they have the lead and the game is almost over.. “He got better as the game went on,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.. Cordero powered an opposite-field home run off Tate, and Hyde hopped out of the bullpen to insert Pérez a batter later than he might’ve been in the game.. For much of the Orioles’ season, late offense has been a calling card.. That was it until the eighth, when Mateo’s bases-clearing gave Baltimore the lead again.. “They’ve been doing that to a lot of teams,” Cora said.. “They’re in a good spot because they’ve been able to finish games.”. After meeting Bush, Hyde has met five presidents.