Although focusing on the long term vision is critical to ultimately achieving it, not celebrating the short term wins as a target that’s been achieved is an opportunity lost, and this is often just a case of clearer communication.

I was working with a client this week and we were discussing the concept of “Short Term Wins” as per the John Kotter 8 step process for leading change.  My client was explaining that often, in the projects he is involved in, they have milestones and project goals that are achieved. However, they never take the opportunity to celebrate or recognise those that are clearly short-term wins (significant steps towards their vision that, if communicated, would build buy-in and support for their change).

Label short term wins as short term wins

We identified that part of the problem is about the language his team use. Naming these achievements as “key deliverables”, “milestones” and “targets” does little to inspire a sense of achievement and build morale. We decided that within the Guiding Team, it is critical to label Short Term Wins as Short Term Wins at the planning stage and to aggressively target them.

Once achieved, it is critical that short term wins are publicly (but honestly) communicated to the organisation. This means there is no game playing and over-inflating what has been delivered, and acknowledging that wins may be relative to individuals’ proximity to the outcome.

A short term win that is not publicised or communicated clearly and honestly is an opportunity lost in the longer game.