Leading change at the micro level

“It’s not zero.”

After illness and injuries that kept me away from the gym for a few months, I’m finally back. My first workout consisted of just 12 minutes of cardio (target is 20) followed by a few sets with weights.

It was much shorter than what I’m used to, and that bugs me a little. But I’ve been through re-entry a few times and starting small is the secret to getting back to previous levels with minimal pain.

Do you know what I’m telling myself? “It’s not zero. Twelve minutes is still something. It’s not nothing. It’s not zero.“

When I first began going to the gym, I jammed in cardio and weights into a 20-minute period while my kids were in their swimming lessons. I did two sets of a few different exercises. Looking back, it was barely enough to get warmed up. Over time, that had a marked improvement on my physical fitness.

All change requires a first step. Some people leap in and others dip a toe. But in every case, those who begin are no longer at zero. They have done something, and every something counts. Even failures produce a gain of learning.

So celebrate change at the micro level. When your stakeholders ask a relevant question, spend two seconds at the new website, start to fill out a form (then forget to complete it), roll out the red carpet! Send up the fireworks! Hand out cake!

No change was ever hindered by enthusiasm about that first small step.

Thoughtfully yours,
Jeff Skipper