Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Nick Saban and the Power of Small Wins

One more blog post about goal setting as the new year begins!  At this time of year, I always find it useful to reconsider Karl Weick's famous article about the power of small wins.   He wrote the article back in the 1980s, and it still resonates so powerfully today.  Here's an excerpt:

A small win is a concrete, complete, implemented outcome of moderate importance. By itself, one small win may seem unimportant. A series of wins at small but significant tasks, however, reveals a pattern that may attract allies, deter opponents, and lower resistance to subsequent proposals. Small wins are controllable opportunities that produce visible results... Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win. When a solution is put in place, the next solvable problem often becomes more visible. This occurs because new allies bring new solutions with them and old opponents change their habits. Additional resources also flow toward winners, which means that slightly larger wins can be attempted.

As you think now about setting ambitious goals for yourself and your organization, develop a "small wins" strategy as well. What are those near-term victories that you will achieve that will create a sense of accomplishment, persuade naysayers to support your efforts, and attract other allies?  

Source: www.theadvocate.com
Last night, the University of Alabama defeated Clemson in the college football semi-finals.  Alabama Coach Nick Saban will now have an opportunity to win sixth college football national championship. Saban understands the value of a small wins approach. Naturally, each season begins with the long term goal of winning another national title. However, he focuses on many small wins along the way, rather than dwelling on the big picture each day. He calls it "the process." Author Ryan Holiday describes how Saban addresses his team throughout the season: 

Don't think about winning the SEC Championship. Don't think about the national championship. Think about what you needed to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That's the process: Let's think about what we can do today, the task at hand.

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