Leveraging Small Improvements

Saturday, February 25 2023

Many of us believe that to make a difference; we must undertake a massive change. This is not true! Leveraging small improvements results in multiple positive outcomes. Ravel’s Bolero is an example of this. This musical composition starts off quietly, with only a few instruments playing then instruments are added one at a time and the music gets louder and louder, building to a magnificent crescendo.  Each new instrument is only a small change, but it enhances the final results.

As leaders, we can use this same principle to enhance our leadership and build stronger teams.

Leveraging Small Improvements

Here are ten areas where a small enhancement could make a big difference.

1. Clear Expectations

When you are delegating make sure the expectations are unambiguous and understood by the other individual. Expectations should include clear outcomes, and time frames, plus a plan for on-going communication.

2. Regular Formal Coaching

Focus on the person to understand how they are doing through the use of formal coaching. This is in addition to day-to-day interactions or situational coaching.

3. Involve Team Members in Decisions

Involve your team in decisions that impact them versus dictating goals; this kills motivation. In addition, the organization loses out on potential great ideas.

4. Get to Know People

Spend time getting to know your team members because you want to understand what motivates them and determine what support they need from you in order to be successful.

5. Authenticity

Be honest, open and genuine with people, and be yourself because trust and respect help build stronger relationships.

6. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

You are responsible for the results created by your team, so pointing fingers or laying blame erodes trust quickly. Support your team and develop them to succeed.

7. Focus on the Top Payoff Activities

Track your time for a couple of weeks, then identify and commit to your top payoff activities. Make changes when necessary by saying no to some things. However, be careful not to ignore activities with the benefit of  leveraging small improvements that accumulate into top payoff activities over time.

8.    Address Concerns

Deal with performance issues and misunderstandings within 24 hours while being positive and non-judgmental in your approach.

9. Listen with empathy

Listen to understand how others feel, and while you don`t have to agree with their perceptions they do need to feel heard, even try mentally reversing roles with the other person and think about how you might feel in that situation.

10. Manage your stress

If you are feeling stress, deal with both the cause and the symptoms. Minimize stress through doing things like relaxing, deep breathing, and exercising as well as receiving coaching and mentoring.

Few of us will score 100 percent in any area but small adjustments are worth the effort and can have big impacts on your results. Little things do make a difference.