It often takes a lot of effort to improve one’s results. You have to overcome large obstacles, gain vast knowledge in a new area, or spend a long time working really hard. However, it’s not the only way to grow. One should never underestimate the power of repeated small actions or decisions, accumulating over a long period of time. I believe it’s one of the things that differentiate solid performers from great achievers. And it applies to management, too.
Imagine that you can find just a few minutes per day to read 5 pages of a book. That’s 150 pages per month, translating to at least one extra book per quarter – or 4 books per year. Quite a bit of knowledge for such a small investment, don’t you think? And it can give you a significant advantage over people who prefer to spend those 5 minutes procrastinating.
Consider the below examples of small extra actions that can make a difference when performed frequently:
- Making just one more phone call, to check if your project’s dependency is on track.
- Asking just one more question at a meeting, to ensure somebody takes ownership of a particular action item.
- Staying a few minutes longer at the office, to push forward a non-urgent improvement.
- Mentioning that too-simple-to-be-true solution for your employee’s problem, just in case nobody actually tried it.
- Reading a single article from your professional area while commuting or waiting in line.
- Sending a quick reminder to someone who committed to help you, to avoid a bad surprise at the last minute.
- Writing down that idea wandering around your head, so that you won’t ignore or forget it.
- Giving one more bit of feedback to your employee, to make them aware that their behavior (good or bad) was noticed.
As you can see, many of the above don’t really require you to invest time, they rather rely on your consistent commitment, preference of clear and explicit agreements, avoiding open-ended topics, and so on. Of course these activities won’t replace your everyday hard work, or any of the other success factors. Such approach is just an addition – yet a very powerful one.
I wonder what are your own ideas for such small extra efforts? Please share them in the comments.