How small wins can build confidence and success

I have just finished reading (again) a book by Harvard Professor, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, called Confidence (2004).

She outlines a number of key strategies to help leaders and managers in particular to regain confidence and the winning habit.

What caught my eye given my interest in small wins innovation was her observation (page 367) that:

‘Small steps, small accomplishments, a hurdle at a time, can have a big impact.

Small wins can improve the odds of achieving the next big success.’

She goes on to note:

‘It is those little things on the part of everyone that separate a win from a loss.’

To illustrate this point she gives the example of City Year, the US national service organisation of young people who begin every meeting with ripples.

This is an opportunity to tell a personal story about a recent accomplishment or sign of success that sends out a tiny ripple of hope.

I love this idea.

Start every team meeting with a small wins story

Imagine the power of starting every team meeting (say once per week) where everyone gets up and tells a story of a small win.

It would be engaging, motivational and the learning would be profound across the team.

This leadership action would also encourage everyone to come prepared with a short story of a small win.

It does not have to be big.

The story could be of a new insight, a key accomplishment, hitting a milestone or a new piece of learning.

Simply telling the story would also be of benefit as everyone in the group has to present themselves and their accomplishments to the wider team.

Having everyone tell a small wins story can have a big impact on building a more innovative team culture.

It creates a sense of purpose, progress and sharing.

If you are a team leader please try it and let me know how you go.

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