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.
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.