“Success is a series of small wins”
There is an increasing body of evidence that says that making progress is one of the most motivating forces. The feeling of achieving something builds momentum and creates satisfaction that pushes people to keep going. In a study mentioned in an article in the Harvard Business Review, ‘The Power of Small Wins‘, it was noted that the most common event which caused a ‘best day’ for the workers was making progress, while the most common event causing a ‘worst day’ was a setback.
It’s clear that marking the incremental milestones and celebrating the small wins is essential. This is especially the case in an accelerator programme, where setbacks are endless and progress can be slow – the small wins are what keep our teams going.
So, this week I asked teams to tell me about an achievement that has stood out for them and has made it all worthwhile.
‘We successfully changed our entire business model in 24 hours’, says Brittany, the CEO of Waywiser – a platform which connects outdoor enthusiasts. But this in itself wasn’t the main achievement: the reason they were able to make such a big decisions in a quick and effective way is because of the passionate people in the team who support and trust each other. ‘I think what we’re most proud of is how we’ve grown and developed as a team’.
Jarek, the CEO of Sonnar, echoed this thought exactly. As I talked to him over the phone, he was on his way down to Wellington to pick up an award he had won for a game for the blind. A very exciting small win! On being asked what his biggest concrete achievement was, he mentioned that they had recently clarified the strategy of the interactive audiobook company; switching the direction from blind users to sighted users. Then he thought for a moment and said to me: ‘Actually, I think our biggest achievement has been the way we’ve worked together as a team. We’re all able to handle stressful situations (which there are a lot of) and I’m really happy with how we’re doing’.
Perhaps it’s unsurprising that this common idea comes through. The value of teams in a competitive startup environment cannot be underestimated; they’re the people with whom you can celebrate the small, concrete wins.
So there’s an insight into the teams, but let’s not forget the small wins of the Lightning Lab as a programme! This week we had an incredibly successful series of events: a lunch with Microsoft and 14 MPs, and an evening with 70 Ice Angel investors. On top of that, teams gained a lot from presentations from Sian Simpson from Kiwi Landing Pad, Trevor Booth from Tower Insurance and Simon Vannini from Simpson Grierson.
It’s been a valuable process for everyone to think about the progress they’ve made. What are some small wins you’ve had recently? Let us know on our:
Twitter: @Lightninglab #LLAKL
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