Big Things Eventually Lead to Little Things
It’s the small details that count. Little things lead to huge things.
I don’t play golf very much. In fact, I wouldn’t call it “playing.” What else can I say? God endowed each of us with unique talents and interests. What I do know about golf is that once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, you’ll spend the rest of your life perfecting and fine-tuning your technique. What I like about golf is the ability to clearly recognize your possibilities. Your long game can be great and bring you to the green in two strokes, but if your short game isn’t up to par, you’ll look like a middle schooler on the putt-putt course. Unfortunately, leadership is not as simple as that. On the plus side, with a little discipline and the correct perspective, any leader can consistently work on the details that will make or break their success.
I recently finished reading “The Toyota Way.” This was my first read about the Toyota Firm, and it introduced me to the concept of kaizen. Kaizen is the concept of how making modest improvements on a regular basis may lead to big changes over time.
I’ve frequently heard it claimed that if you seek to improve 1% every day, you’ll be 37 times better than you were when you started. Simply by making a small change and enhancing yourself by 1% a day.
How do you go about doing that?
The first step toward improvement is to examine your strengths and prospects. (Yes, I call them opportunities rather than flaws.)
Fill up the blanks with your answers to these questions. After that, ask a colleague or someone who knows you well to confirm, deny, or add to the list.
What am I particularly skilled at?
What comes naturally to me?
What am I having trouble with?
What appears to be tough and frustrating?
What provides me with energy?
What consumes my energy?
What are the top ten talents I need to excel at my job?
Now comes the exciting part. Rate yourself from 1 (least skilled) to 10 for each answer on your list (most proficient). This will allow you to track your development over time and provide you with a complete view of your present condition.
What exactly does that look like? It begins small.
Now that you’ve got a nice list to work from, it’s time to get started. The trick here is to begin slowly. Remember that 1% is not much. We are not attempting to tackle everything at once. That will only result in exhaustion and swinging your fist at the heavens. I should be aware… I gave it a go.
I would suggest that you pick something in which you excel. This appears to be counterintuitive given that opportunities are often seen as low-hanging fruit. Remember that those activities often deplete your energy, so let’s start with something that provides you with energy.
After you’ve decided, go to work on improving your skills immediately. Google strategies to improve your skills. Examine an article. Get a podcast about the subject. Look for a mentor. Something that will help you gain that 1%. If you need to interact with others to complete a task, call a meeting straight away and get to work.
If you’re like me, you need diversity in your life. If this describes you, choose a new talent or attribute to practice every day. This should keep things interesting. If you are a perfectionist, you may consider doing one thing per week. Every day, the aim is to improve by 1%.
Tips I’ve Found to Be Effective:
Each one at a time. As I previously stated, don’t attempt to move the needle on everything at once. Begin by concentrating on one thing at a time.
Make a note of it:
According to research, when we write things down, our brains do something miraculous. It remains with us longer and is more likely to be completed. Write it down, even if it’s on a sticky note on your wall.
Work on both your talents and your opportunities:
Strengths provide energy, while opportunities deplete it. It makes sense to keep them balanced while working on them. Yes, working on possibilities provides you with the most leeway for change, but you don’t want to be exhausted all of the time.
Make someone accountable:
Telling a friend is a terrific way to hold oneself accountable. Explain your project and ask them to check in with you at the end of the day, week, month, or year. If you don’t feel comfortable asking someone else, create a reminder on your phone or calendar to self-assess that quality or talent on a specific day.