Create short-term goals and celebrate short-term wins

Change management expert John Kotter wrote: “Real transformation takes time, and a renewal effort risks losing momentum if there are no short-term goals to meet and celebrate.”1

While keeping an eye on the long-term vision, try to establish smaller-scale tactical objectives that you want your team to meet within a reasonably short period of time. What will be the tangible outcomes of the team’s change effort?  You may want to consider the following check-points:

  • What do you want your team to accomplish this week?
  • What do you want your team to accomplish this month?
  • What do you want your team to accomplish by the end of the year?
  • What do you want your team to accomplish in two years?

 To track the progress, you may want to pay attention to small identifiable changes in the day-to-day business such as:

  • Improvement in efficiency (e.g., customer claims processed faster, less paper work involved, faster response time, more accurate time tracking, increasing time usage on project work/management as opposed to administrative tasks)
  • Improvement in work quality on certain indices
  • Innovative work processes introduced
  • Increase in customer satisfaction (if measured)
  • More effective team meetings, for example, more new ideas proposed and discussed, members listening more to others and engaging in constructive feedback rather than criticizing others or arguing for the sake of arguing.

 When positive changes have been observed, let the team know about them, and appreciate those who contributed the most:

  • Recognize their work
  • Thank your team members for work well done
  • See if they have deserved a promotion or a bonus or some other reward

However, do not declare the victory too soon! Some small win does not mean that the change mission has been accomplished and that there is nothing more to be done. Use this victory as a stepping stone to the next achievement.

1  Kotter, J.P. (1995). Leading change: Why transformation efforts fail. Harvard Business Review, 73(2), 59-67.


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