Every Little bit Counts

Recently my husband and I redid our back patio.  We had brown plastic wicker furniture with gray cushions and it just looked sorta… blah.  Originally, we were thinking of getting a whole new patio set but we quickly squashed that idea once we looked at the prices.  So, we decided to get new cushions and some side tables that we had been talking about for awhile.  After shopping online at Target and going to two stores in person, we have what looks like a brand-new patio - 2 chairs and a love seat with medium-dark blue cushions with gray accent pillows, a new ottoman, 2 rustic-looking side tables with blue in it them that matches the cushions, a blue and white rug for under the table, and a new “Wipe your paws” mat.  Our screened-in outdoor area now has a whole new look and feel for half the cost of a new patio set and only about 5 hours of work when all was said and done!  All of those little changes we made added up to a big overall difference in the appearance and comfort of our patio.

You can easily translate this into business because many executives feel the need for an overhaul when something isn’t working correctly - whether that means creating new processes or hiring new people.  There seems to be a tendency to say “Well this isn’t working.  Scrap that idea and let’s move on to the next.”  But you don’t have to!  Not only is starting from scratch a LOT more work, it’s also usually unnecessary.  When tasked with making a big change around the company, a lot of employees will keep putting it off, which causes it to end up taking a lot longer than planned to get it done or it won’t ever get completed because “higher priority” items keep coming up.  Just tweaking what you have will allow you to see results from the team’s decisions and actions much faster than overhauling the whole system.

There are two main things to remember when you’re contemplating a change in your organization:

  1. Every little bit counts
  2. Make sure to set small, actionable, measurable goals so you can make (and see) progress

When thinking about your company and something you would like to improve, how true is it that everything about that process or department needs to be scrapped and that nothing is worth saving?  Probably not very true.  There’s usually something that’s going well with what you’re looking to change.  Start there!  Make a list of what’s working and how that ties into your vision of the future.  Then start coming up with ideas to add to your base plan that would make your vision a reality.  You’ll probably come up with a big list of a lot of little improvements you wish to make.

Look at your list and focus on the top 1-3 things you and your organization need to do in order to reach your goal.  Take those items and break them down into small steps that you and/or your team can start to take action on today and that you can clearly see when they’ve been completed.  Ensure that accountability is in place and the team knows when you’ll reconvene to go over progress and results.  For more tips and tricks on goal setting, take a look at my blog post Don’t fear the Fog (or the Reaper).

It’s like a friend of mine says, “What will you do differently today?”  Big changes don’t have to wait until all of the time and resources are available.  Overwhelming improvements are all made of lots of little changes that eventually add up to paint a whole new picture.  Figure out the picture you want to paint and take the first brush stroke today