Small Adjustments Generate Big Changes

One of the flaws of much of the literature and training on leadership, team development, and organizational change, is the search for the big fix.

When exposed to complete, new ways of thinking and acting, humans don’t suddenly transmogrify, casting aside old, bad habits and adopting new and improved approaches.

You don’t read a book or a whole shelf of books or attend a training class and suddenly embody the models outlined in the material. Groups don’t study the characteristics of high-performance teams one week and suddenly adopt those behaviors the next week.

Rapid wholesale change in human thinking and acting is rare in general and practically unheard of in the workplace. Mostly, if we change at all, we change incrementally.

Coaches get this. They focus on helping individuals or groups modify one or two core behaviors as a means of improving performance. Small adjustments generate big changes.

The big fixes are alluring, but the best results frequently derive from subtle changes. If your team members aren’t talking, it’s because you’re not listening. If ideas aren’t flowing, people are afraid of speaking up for fear of being shot down. Quit complicating the situation by looking for large changes when a simple adjustment might yield big results.

Summing-up:  Sweeping incrementalism—focus on a single, established behavior and introduce a small change to drive significant results.

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