Straight out of John Kotter’s playbook (Leading Change), it is important for the success of a long-term initiative to generate short-term wins. These are milestones that are set in the near future, which are deliberately chosen to demonstrate early success.
Short-term wins help build momentum by proving that the initiative will actually work. Demonstrating early success can help get the nay-sayers and hold-outs on board.
When selecting the short-term milestone or project, choose wisely. If possible, you want to pick a project that has all three of the following qualities:
- It is important.
- It has a high likelihood of success.
- It can achieve success within the attention span of those who want an excuse to write the initiative off (usually a few months).
A project that has all three qualities may be elusive. Usually, if something is too easy or short-term, it’s probably not that important (or else it would have been done already). If you come up with a milestone that is sufficiently important and short-term, then increase the likelihood of success due to your personal intervention. Make sure it happens!
Once you complete the first wins, you will want to continually produce short-term wins to keep the momentum going, and keep the attention of those who need proof that the initiative is making progress.
What might be your short-term wins?
Read more of the 99 Ways to Influence Change.