Making changes within a team is always challenging. You might be trying to improve the way your team works, or perhaps use a new computer system. Leading change is difficult because there are so many reasons why things could just stay the same.
You don’t necessarily need to be the boss to be leading change in your team. Sometimes, the best change comes from within the team, rather than from the top down. However, here are some common phrases you’ll no doubt hear on your change journey.
“That’s just how it is here”
“We’ve always done it that way”
“They won’t change the way they do it”
The common factor in many teams that I’ve seen are feelings of defeat and helplessness. What I find the most surprising is that many of the team members know things aren’t great, but they don’t feel as if it could be any different.
This article from mindtools.com does a great job of summarising the steps required in leading change in a team. One of the key steps in leading change is to find quick wins.
Why quick wins are important to leading change
A quick win is a small victory. A small part of a greater goal that you have achieved in a short time. There are a number of reasons that quick wins in leading change make a huge difference.
In your team, you might have a tendency to look toward a grand vision of the future, where your team is completely transformed. Really you need to be focusing on getting there one step at a time. At each step, you need to be winning. And when you win, you need to tell everybody that you, as a team, are winning.
1. Leading change requires quick wins to show that it’s possible
Even the smallest of successes can prove a point. Last week your team was managing their tasks on paper notepads. Today you’re using a simple online tool, where there is greater visibility of what’s happening. That’s a quick win.
Quick wins prove that change can happen, no matter how small. The people who say “that’s how it has always been” can now see that it doesn’t have to be that way. Something has changed. If one thing has changed, why can’t another?
2. Leading change requires quick wins to build momentum
Momentum is king. If you continue to strive for a long-term vision over months and years, it becomes a drag. To sustain this type of effort, you need continuous motivation, people who really care and who keep on pushing. These people are hard to find.
That’s why you want to build momentum with small win after small win. Quick wins are energising and they give people motivation to push on to the next target. It works, because quick wins show that they’re making a difference.
3. Leading change requires quick wins to celebrate
If you don’t achieve anything until you reach your grand vision months and years from now, it’s hard to celebrate. Quick wins allow you a point in time where you can recognise success.
Hold a small morning tea for a job well done. Go out for coffee. Do something, and let everybody know that the reason this is happening is because you won. A small win, perhaps, but a win nonetheless.
Without celebration points, leading change in your team becomes a long grind. Only the most resilient individuals will stay around long enough to see it through.
Leading change is extremely difficult. Whether you’re trying to implement a new way of working, roll out a big new system or do something your team has never tried before, it’s tough.
Quick wins will make the job easier for you. Don’t give up on change, because change is the only way to get to where you want to go.
And it’s always easier when you’re winning.