“You can be on the pitcher’s mound or you can be in the catcher’s position. Put points on the board. Show people you can govern. Deliver on what you said you were going to deliver on.”
— Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief-of-staff, advised then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama to win support for his agenda by first establishing clearly defined goals, meeting those goals quickly, and broadcasting those victories from sea to shining sea.
Emanuel has taken his own advice to heart as mayor of Chicago, where he capped his first 30 and 100 days in office by producing larger-than-life checklists of 23 and 50 accomplishments, respectively. Writes Jonathan Alter in The Atlantic, “The mayor has established his metrics and is asking to be held accountable for them. And he will be.”
Tiny victories, noted and reflected upon daily, are an enormous driver of personal motivation and innovation, says Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile.
In researching her book The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement and Creativity at Work, Amiable “forced 238 professionals to keep a daily work diary for up to nine months” and was shocked when the entries came flooding back — submitted, on average, 4 out of every 5 days.
Her finding? Small wins matter. They matter even more when you take time to write them down and think about them each day.
“A small win is a step forward that, when in happens, it looks so incremental it seems almost trivial. Yet even progress events that like, when it happens, can boost inner work life tremendously.”