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The Secret to Making Small Victories Bigger

Written by
George Dickson
George Dickson

Small victories have the potential to become something much bigger, not through alchemy or magic, but through thoughtful strategy.

There are several ways leaders can transform the small victories their team achieves on a regular basis into a sustainable, driving force for engagement. Most can be implemented easily, and at very little โ€” if any โ€” cost.

Here's some background on why increased acknowledgment and praise works, where most organizations fail, and how to begin transforming your team's small victories into something much bigger:

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Why increased acknowledgment and praise works

In a recent study, 70% of employees say that motivation and morale would improve โ€œmassivelyโ€ with managers saying thank you more.

It's important to understand that whether recognition comes from a co-worker, a manager, a client, or anyone else, it's priceless. It doesn't have to come from a manager to be meaningful โ€” it just needs to be timely, specific, visible, and values-based.

Where managers fail in acknowledging achievements

In many companies, recognition and rewards based on work performance are trapped in management or HR silos, where only a few people have the power and the incentive to recognize and reward the myriad contributions made by others.

In these systems, it's both a manager's prerogative and their burden to survey all the activity within their domain, decide what achievements are worthy of praise, choose who deserves recognition and rewards for their achievements, and finally, administer it. This inevitably leads to a system where contributions go unnoticed, noticed too late โ€” or worse โ€” noticed, but not recognized.

How companies can accomplish better engagement

Short-circuiting that bureaucratic process by giving your entire team the ability to publicly recognize and reward their colleagues is one of the easiest ways to transform small victories into a huge win.

With a larger set of eyes positioned closer to the action, there's a greater opportunity for the small victories your employees achieve on a regular basis to be recognized and rewarded, in the moment, before the impact fades. Employees who are regularly recognized for their hard work are more likely to be engaged and invested in it.

Incentivizing and supporting a company culture where small victories are continually recognized and rewarded costs nothing, but the return on that investment is gigantic. There are several tools available to make recognizing employees simple, and most are easily affordable.

Try taking this first step toward recognizing and rewarding small victories, and you'll see how big they can become.

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Originally published on May 01, 2015 โ†’ Last updated March 10, 2022

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George Dickson

George is dedicated to strengthening organizational cultures with thoughtful leadership and frequent recognition. George formerly managed content and community at Bonusly.

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