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The Champion Forum Podcast

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How to Make Small Wins Generate Big Impact

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Leaders often get so focused on the goals that they forget to celebrate the little things their teams do well. On today's episode, we will talk about why leaders should celebrate small wins and some practical ways you can ensure your team feels acknowledged for their efforts.


Why Should Leaders Celebrate Small Wins?

1. Refocuses a team on their overall goal.

Celebrating small victories reminds your team about what they're working towards. Working with a sense of purpose is vital to motivation. Highlighting progress and success will remind your team that each small task completed contributes to the overall goal.


Q: Do you clearly understand what success looks like on your team? If you only did what was celebrated, what would you focus on? Would your efforts be aligned with your team's definition of success? Why or why not?


2. It breaks up the daily grind.

When your team is working hard, especially during a significant transition or another challenge, they can get used to receiving bad news and being told to keep working hard. Celebrating a small success is a welcome break for any team, especially those working through a major transition or other challenge. A break from their daily routine can increase productivity and creativity when they return to work.


3. It creates unity.

When everyone is working on their own assignment, your team can feel fragmented. A celebration is a great way to bring everyone together in a positive and informal way. When you create unity on your team, individuals can come to the rescue of those in need. It also allows you to praise what is going well and demonstrate to your team the definition of good.


4. Celebrating enhances dopamine levels!

Studies have shown that being praised releases dopamine into the brain, reinforcing the value of the work, causing the employee to work harder, and generating more dopamine. Some leaders will wait until the end of a project to deliver praise. Unfortunately, this makes praise and recognition rare rather than regular. Giving regular praise boosts your team's commitment to their work.


Q: How do you feel when you are celebrated for your work? Describe a time when you felt underappreciated. How did it affect your work? How does that experience compare to when you felt like your boss and co-workers recognized your efforts?


Application Activities

  1. Plan to find small wins. Some small wins will seem obvious, but others require you to be very intentional. Put a note in your calendar a few days before crucial deadlines for large projects. Use that note as a reminder to find and celebrate a small win. Celebrating wins while the team is busy trying to meet a deadline will help improve team morale and confidence.

  2. It's not enough for leaders to give praise for small wins. You need to create a culture where people value each other and can recognize the role each of their co-workers plays in the team's success. One way to do this is to have each team member recognize another team member who exemplifies one of the company's core values at each weekly staff meeting. Have them use specific examples. Over time, you will reinforce the company's values and create a culture where people catch each other doing things well!

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