The Power of Starting Small: Small ideas can lead to big results
By Jacqueline Zhou
In both our personal and professional lives, we make a handful of large goals for ourselves, many of which may not be achieved. This is not entirely our fault; after all, we have been trained to “dream big” and reach for the stars when striving to achieve any goal. What we are not taught, however, is to set small incremental goals that lead you to your big outcome.
While we are waiting for this huge achievement in our lives, whether personal or professional, we often miss the opportunity to make alternative plans and take a chance on smaller ideas and celebrate a smaller win. Taking it down a notch and deciding to implement smaller ideas with a lesser impact often has serious benefits.
Small losses are a learning opportunity
Small ideas are low risk ideas: if they go well, celebrate it; if they do not, nothing large is lost and you can move on to Plan B. By building an environment where failure is acceptable and even the norm, we are not only able to then recognize and improve upon our own personal and professional shortcomings, but also, we are able to examine and best devise a strategy that will give us the ability to jump over, crawl under, or blast through any obstacles that may be standing in the way of success.
Maintain a well-funded portfolio of small ideas
Much like your stock portfolio, small ideas should be invested in a variety of areas. By spreading out these small yet potentially valuable ideas out across the different parts of the business, the stakes are not stacked up so high against you should that one little idea fail you. When you actively choose to not place all of your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes, you are actually placing a greater long term focus on the improvement of your organization than if you invest only in that one “big idea.”
Tip the scale with small ideas
Smaller ideas can be stronger ideas, Ben Horowitz’s blog summarizes. He admits to initially coming up with a plan of “silver bullets” which looks great on paper, but in practice would have likely resulted in the company heading to the dumps. As a veteran of the company advises the author, what was required were “a lot of lead bullets” which, while no one bullet was the answer itself — taken together, they make a big impact.
The renowned former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, once said, “If you want to change big things, you pay attention to small things.” Small ideas lead to small plans, and small plans are the stepping stones that we need eventually enjoy big wins. As long as you have a plan that is constantly moving forward, regardless how large or small it may be, you will always be headed towards success.
This post was written by Jacqueline Zhou of SoapBox of Ryerson Digital Media Zone.