Shawn Achor is a consultant and a former Harvard graduate and author.

He writes extensively on items such as positive psychology.

In a recent article he gave 5 tips that promote optimism and a positive attitude.

The last tip caught my eye (courtesy of a blog by Robert Sutton).

Set small goals

Shawn Achor suggests that it is fine to develop daring goals but goals that are too big have a big negative impact on your brain.

I quote:

Goals that are too big paralyze you.

They literally shut off your brain, says Achor.

Here’s what happens to your brain when faced with a daunting goal or project:

The amygdala, the part of the brain that responds to fear and threats, hijacks the “thinker” part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, says Achor.

The amygdala steals resources from the prefrontal cortex, the creative part of the brain that makes decisions and sees possibilities.

“We watch this on a brain scan,” he says. “The more the amygdala lights up, the less the prefrontal cortex does.

“Breaking a big goal into smaller, more achievable goals prevents the fear part of your brain from hijacking your thinking cap and gives you victories.”

I totally agree with this approach.

Breaking innovation into smaller achievable goals

In my experience with managers and leaders over the past 10 years i believe that innovation for many of them is simply too big and daunting.

They struggle with where to start and how.

This is why I am advocating a small wins innovation approach.

If you break the innovation journey into a series of continuous small wins then something magical happens.

– You  get started.

– People get results.

– Problems start being solved.

– Momentum is created.

– People see and feel the benefits of thinking and acting differently.

– You give team members permission to challenge the status-quo.

– Most of all, more people feel energised and engaged in being innovative.

What is a small win?

Something that makes a difference every day.

It could be a new idea on how to handle a customer complaint.

Or a key learning.

Or the sharing of a result.

Or a new insight.

Or having your boss being more open to a different approach.

The point is this.

Small wins are a means to an end (i.e. a step forward to a bigger goal) and an end in itself (e.g. going for a walk today).

Thsi applies even more so to innovation because it involves change and challenging the status quo.




Pin It on Pinterest

Share This