A Guest Review of "The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work" by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer
By Andrew Moses, MorganFranklin Corporation
For my inaugural "guest blog" on Monica Thakrar Inc.'s website, I have chosen to review "The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work." The book, just released in July, shares groundbreaking research on what truly separates successful leaders from the masses. Through the years, countless leadership and management books have attempted to provide the answer, but few authors have done so in such a tactical manner as Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer.
According to the authors, the answer to the age-old question of what separates successful leaders from the masses is that they are able to foster great "inner work lives" for each of their employees. More specifically, Amabile and Kramer have concluded that the ability to create "conditions that foster positive emotions, strong internal motivation, and favorable perceptions of colleagues and the work itself" is the key to successful leadership.
Are you currently doing things to create great "inner work lives" for your employees? What can you do as a leader to promote more positive "inner work lives" for those on your teams? Fortunately, Amabile and Kramer have more answers.
Leveraging their collection and analysis of 12,000 diary entries written by 238 employees across seven companies, the authors have concluded that the most important ingredient in motivating people is the facilitation of progress—even small wins.
The results of this study are extremely relevant to any leader. The research indicates that as a leader, the first thing you should do each day is identify what you need to do to facilitate your team's progress. But how can this be accomplished? Fortunately, Amabile and Kramer have provided a roadmap here as well. The authors cite "small wins, breakthroughs, forward movement, and goal completion" as keys to progress.
As a leader, are you actively working to facilitate your team's progress each day? Are you designing your team's projects with the achievement of progress and interim successes in mind? For example, do you start with the low-hanging fruit and set up measurable and attainable checkpoints along the way, or do you simply ask the team to set out with one end result in mind? If you already have a project underway, it's not too late to bring the team together and set forth some interim milestones. If you are starting a new project, the most important factor in your success will be designing the project to facilitate and continuously achieve progress. Once projects are underway, as a leader, you should work to establish a strong affiliation/connection between the team and the interim milestones and end result. Track and celebrate small achievements along the way, even as you work to attain larger goals.
Leading to facilitate progress may require that you entirely rethink the way you lead. But rest assured that you don't need to undergo a transformational change overnight to begin managing to facilitate progress. To get started, think of one thing you can do today or tomorrow as a leader to facilitate progress. By doing just one small thing to facilitate your progress as a leader, you will go a long way toward achieving your own success and your team’s success. That's the "progress principle."
This "Guest Blog Entry" was written by Andrew Moses, a Senior Associate in MorganFranklin’s Financial Management and Performance Improvement practice. For more information on MorganFranklin, visit www.morganfranklin.com.
If you are going through a large scale change in your organization - be it a technology implementation, a change in strategy, or new legislation - there will inevitably be some resistance to from your employees. Why? Because each person reacts differently to a change, stress, or moving out of their comfort zone. There are some typical reasons, however, that employees resist change. Here are the top five:
1.They don’t know why the change is happening - if an employee does not understand why a change is happening and how it could be important for the organization as a whole they will often not accept or be resistant to the change. By making and communicating out a “case for change” employees can understand why the change is needed.
2.They don’t think that the “rewards” outweigh the “cost” - often people like to stay in their comfort zone. They want to keep doing what they are used to doing unless the benefits of the change can be made for them. With the case for change, leaders need to clearly state the benefits of the change and why the new change will be better than the old one. Then employees will begin to feel more comfortable with the change process.
3.There is not enough clarity around the change - often when there is change information is not provided as frequently or as well as is necessary. Openness and transparency are important when going through a change process. It is imperative to share information down from the leadership on why, when, and how the change is happening and keep employees informed about the progress of the change.
4.They don’t feel part of the change - If employees are not asked for feedback as part of the change process then they don’t feel part of the change, which can lead to resistance. Feedback is an integral pat in of creating buy-in and having employees feel like their input and feelings are being heard and integrated into the change process.
5.Past change efforts have failed - some employees can feel like this effort will be just like the others and therefore are not supportive of it. Communicating why this one is different and why and how it will be successful will go a long way to reassuring people as well as showing “wins” during the implementation time frame.
Are you seeing any of these behaviors exhibited from your employees during change efforts? What have you done to alleviate resistance to change in your organization?
Managing up is a skill set that is needed for anyone who wants to be an integral part of their organization. It is about building a strong relationship with your boss, building trust, and bringing up issues when needed. So how do you successfully manage up? Well there are four main components that allow you to build a strong relationship with your boss:
1.Understanding what is important to your boss - knowing what are the major priorities and goals of your leader is critical for you to be able to take initiative, show support, and get involved in those areas. By taking steps to further the goals of your leader you will show him/her that you are aligned with his/her vision and wanting to contribute to those goals.
2.Helping them to prioritize your work - by understanding what is important to your boss you will be able to strategically think through what are the highest priorities in your work. You will then be able to focus on those tasks earlier than others and raise questions to your boss about them as needed. This will show that you are proactive, have drive, and are able to think strategically.
3.Raising issues to your leader - as you are closer to the ground than your boss you will be able to determine if there are any barriers to success in the making sooner than they will. As a result a good way to manage up is to raise issues to your boss which could be potential problems so that he/she can can deal with them in a timely and appropriate fashion.
4.Taking initiative to raise ideas and opportunities to your boss - being proactive shows your boss your enthusiasm, commitment, and desire to progress in the organization. It will also show them that they can delegate more work onto you and that you can bring up new initiatives that support the organization as a whole.
Is there anything from this list that you can add or improve upon in your day to day work?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.