Big Goals Start with Small Changes

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.



Big Goals Start with Small Changes

As Ken Blanchard indicates in his foreword to Ken Jennings and Heather Hyde's book, change does not always have to stem from huge and life-altering events. Everyday changes in small measures can add up to a big difference.

Here are Ken and Heather's list of five small changes that anyone can make in their daily lives that can contribute to the greater goal:


1. Pick Just One Positive Behavior: Pick one behavior and commit to practice it every day. For instance, if you want to become known as an encourager, find three occasions every day when you see someone doing good work and recognize them for it. Put three coins in your left pocket each day and each time you encourage someone, move the coin from your left pocket to your right pocket.

2. Connect with Just One Colleague: Most jobs, functions and projects in organizations are highly interdependent, but people try to operate as if they weren’t. Select someone who is working on a project with you or working on a project that directly or indirectly impacts you. What power does that person have over your ability to achieve your goals? What power do you have over their outcomes? Talk over how you can help each other reduce effort. Challenge each other to come up with a specific request or offer of help that will make a positive difference in your shared goals.

3. Just Listen to One Person at a Time. All coaching starts with great listening - being really present to the one who is trying to do their very best thinking. Next time a friend asks you to listen about an important decision they’re making, ask them “What do you care most about achieving by making this decision?” Then just listen without interrupting, probe for details, maintain a relaxed and attentive presence, and resist the urge to react or think about your response. The other person will eventually reveal their deeper, greater goals.

4. Have People Share and Trust One at a Time: Sometimes lack of trust occurs simply because people haven’t had the opportunity to share hopes or concerns in a “safe space” - a forum where they won’t be judged negatively for sharing. To build trust at your next work meeting, suggest that you begin with asking each person present to state the greater purpose for the meeting -- from their personal perspective. End the meeting with another round for each person to express what’s working well with trust and alignment, and where they see opportunity to expand trust.

5. Examine Just One Unexpected Success. It’s funny how larger companies forget that unexpected success is really important feedback that should be paid attention, rather than just celebrated and then disregarded. Find an unexpected success in your work that occurred somewhere on the fringes of your efforts, rather within the core of your focus, and see what it tells you about your customers, your products and your future.