Perspective is More Powerful than Vision

Why I’ve dropped the phrase, “strategic vision”

Every once in a while you hear something that changes your entire way of approaching a topic. It’s a powerful moment.

I recently had such an experience watching a video of Jensen Huang speaking to a group of students at Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Huang is the cofounder of NVDIA, a Silicon Valley company that went from start up in the 1990s to a current market valuation of over $10 Billion.

You can see the video yourself at this link and click on the first of the lecturettes.

Visions Are Elitist

Mr. Huang was discussing the concept of a vision statement. He reveals,

I like to use the word “perspective” because it makes it possible for anyone to have one. When you say vision, it feels like only a few selected visionaries of the world can have one. But everyone has a perspective and that’s in fact all visions means.

For me, this points to the solution to many strategy-execution problems.  Having a perspective means that the ideas and direction are open to discussion, inviting more people into the discussion to contribute their perspectives.  Importantly, it avoids the elitist nature of many vision statements.

Having Perspective Allows for Coherence

Huang explains that his company was founded on have a perspective that was contrarian to the prevailing 1993 view about the role of personal computers as desktop and office automation tools.

Our perspective was that this particular device was going to be unique in the sense that it has the ability to run programs. And what if we gave it the benefit of running through 3D graphics programs? So that you could explore new worlds, play games – you know play games. And so we started a company and the business plan basically read something like this, “We’re going to take technology that was available only in the most expensive workstations. We’re going to try to make it, reinvent the technology, and make it inexpensive,” and the killer app was video games.

Huang took his idea to venture capitalists who responded that there was no video game market, so people don’t start companies to play games. Even Huang’s parents couldn’t understand his idea,

I remember calling my mom and telling her that I’m going to start this company and she says, “What do you guys do?” I said, “We built this things called 3D graphics chips and people would use them to play games. And she said, “Why don’t you go get a job?”

Huang had a different perspective because grew up in the video game generation and embraced the entertainment value of video games. He could imagine how could be a very large market and a very large industry. For a lot of the people that were older, that sensibility didn’t exist. Huang explains, “at the time our common sense was unique.”

Coherence is a key to strategy. It means that things make sense; there is an internal logic and consistency to the story.  NVIDA’s success has been stellar, and it came from good strategy. That good strategy was the application of commonsense which was both unique and correct.

Are you going to join me in changing the question from “What is Your Vision?” to “What is Your Perspective?”

Posted in Interpreting Strategy Documents, Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Real Reason Strategy Implementation is Difficult (and the Solution to It)

Jury deliberatingThe reasons for poor strategy execution (use your favorite search engine) is a list of “usual suspects:” poor communication, poor executive sponsorship, etc. What is the deeper cause of those dysfunctions of strategy execution? It is the very nature of human thinking and social interactions. If we can address these two people-related problems, we can greatly improve the delivery quality of strategic initiatives:

  • Stakeholders lack a mutual understanding of the nature of the situation. Strategy – especially the early activities of environmental scanning and selecting core challenges – involves substantial ambiguity, complexity, paradox, and uncertainty. Much of this ambiguity arises in the organization’s external situation and requires acuity and sensitivity to the underlying structure to accommodate it. There is complexity that is internal, too, as all large organization have silos of expertise that are not understood by others outside that silo.
  • The organization’s social and emotional environment is not supportive for individuals to step outside of their comfort zone. Strategy requires stakeholders to willingly make an investment, despite the uncertain outcomes: it requires commitment.

Both of the above problems are generally related to communications, and more specifically to the conversations that people have with each other.  Most of the time, in most organizations, the conversations that take place involve low-meaning exchanges: events, tasks, gossip about people, and complaints.  Take a look at your emails and texts and see how much meaningful information is really there.

When it comes to strategy, we start to see slightly more meaning in the form of individual opinions. Rarely are the opinions are well-reasoned and based on strategic insight. More commonly, they are just reactions and suggestions for solutions.  Generally, we see a lot of “talking at each other” rather than “talking through the issues.”

I have found a useful way to introduce groups to effective conversations about strategy and execution. It uses an analogy that is familiar to most people from western cultures.

Welcome to Jury Duty!

The metaphor is that strategy discussions are jury deliberations designed to render a verdict. Jury members are selected, receive instructions, listen to evidence, recuse themselves, and then converse with each other to arrive at a decision. Before further examining the analogy, let’s define two key terms:

  • Dialogue involves active use of inquiry to understand the perspective of others and advocacy to present their mental model about the situation and the solution. Listening is key, so that the voices of important stakeholders about the evidence and the narratives that connect the evidence. Dialogue goes deeper than words, it is an attempt to discover and agree to underlying meanings.  What is the core challenge of the organization? What resources have the most power to “tilt” the system in the desired direction?
  • Deliberation builds upon dialogue. People deliberate by using their reasoning skills for the purpose of making collective decisions.  Deliberation is not rushed.

Now, let’s examine how to apply jury duty analogy to strategy discussions.

The first phase is selecting the core team, just like we would select the jury. The ideal core team member is someone who is both competent at strategic thinking, and has organizational power and influence.  We need to let them know that activity will require a commitment of their time, and will require them to focus their attention.

Here is a subtle-but-important point: although we are inviting people to a meeting, we are most importantly inviting them into the conversation. We are inviting them to engage in a sharing of mental models where each will be influencing, negotiating, and visioning.

I recommend addressing the ambiguity around the words “strategy,” and all of the phrases that use the word “strategic” as a modifier (e.g., strategic initiatives, strategic goals, strategic plans, strategic decisions). Even if the person has had training in strategic thinking and strategy, there is likely to be numerous opinions. Regardless of the definition you might be using, we are talking about something important.  Because of the significance of strategy, we need to recognize the users of dialogue and deliberation must transcend casual talk about events and tasks, and opinions.

The tendency of many – in the face of complexity – is to simplify it. It seems rational to break things into pieces, but it can cause problems when addressing problems involving people and culture. The better approach for complexity in strategic initiatives is to accept it and adapt to it. By doing so, you will be more likely to find coherence in your strategy.

The second phase of a jury trial is the presentation is the argumentation phase. Here the jury is exposed to the evidence and the explanations of the evidence. They are counseled to avoid prejudices.

Just like the narrative in a jury trial is a hypothesis to be tested, a strategy is a hypothesis. The jury’s job is to figure out if the hypothesis fits the evidence.

In an earlier article, I explained that solutioneering (proposing solutions before problems are understood) is a common problem for strategic initiatives. Solutioneering is a prejudice for a certain solution, and it can lead to mediocre strategy. Solutionering is most often a person’s opinion based on their world view, and you can mitigate it with attention to dialogue and deliberation.

The third phase of a jury trial is deliberation.

If you are new to the tools of dialogue and deliberation, I think a good start is the ladder of inference (for more, see this article). With this tool, we can see that there is an action element that is akin to strategy (a simple definition of strategy could be that it is a set of actions based on a set of beliefs). Where do those beliefs come from? They come from conclusions that are based on assumptions that are based on data. Assumptions are always subject to prejudices. Data might be incomplete.  As you walk people up and down the ladder of inference, you probe their mental model by requesting of them, “Help me understand you.”

Similarly, if you have a point of view to advocate, use the ladder of inference to climb up from your data to your recommended strategy.

An effective jury reaches consensus.  Similarly, and effective strategy is one that reaches consensus; that is, people agree to support the implementation.

The stakes are high in a jury trial, and the stakes are high in strategy. Do you agree that the jury analogy provides some useful ideas for improving strategy implementation?

Posted in Strategy Coaching and Facilitation, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Grasping Essentials When You’re NOT the Expert

My friend Ken is in a strategic initiative leadership role at a large energy company. He found himself in an uncomfortable position, which involved decisions about creating and managing SAP data. His manager responded to Ken with the instruction to “dig in and learn it” and move the initiative towards its milestones. The decisions were technical and had high impact. Not surprisingly, Ken felt stress. Ken resolved the stress by recruiting a technical lead who was more expert with the challenges and qualified to make the decisions.

This incident is a sample of a larger problem. What can a person do when he needs to quickly grasp essential knowledge and there is little opportunity to delegate the decision to an expert? This article provides you a technique for improving the effectiveness of your learning of specialist knowledge.

Mastery of Topics versus “Good Enough”

Textbook learning starts with chapters on the fundamentals. For example, medical training typically considers human anatomy as a fundamental. Then progressively more sophisticated stuff that is layered on top of the fundamentals. The learner’s job is to structure and retain this knowledge. If the stakes are high – again, think about medicine – we expect mastery as the standard.

Real-world learning is usually some sort of problem solving using “muddling through” as a strategy. That means that the learner grabs some bits and pieces of knowledge and applies it to see what works. Sometimes, they will observe others solving the same or related problems.

This real-world muddling approach is typical: there isn’t time to “go back to school.” Specialists understand the specifics, and can work with the jargon and deeper layers of meaning. Management generalists like Ken delegate and defer where they can. But when it comes to integration of the components, they are left to make the best decisions that they can and hope for the best.

Might there be a way to apply real-world learning styles in a way that allows for individual mastery and improved communications?

Faster Learning, Real-World Style

Example Concept Map Interpreting Merchandising Functional Strategy for Strategic InitiativeI discovered a solution that finds a middle ground between formalized textbook-style learning and muddling through.  This approach, works by asking focus questions and constructing propositions. The result is a hierarchical concept map that renders a scaffold of relevant knowledge. Please review the nearby graphic, and you will get a sense of that statement. (I explained the story behind this graphic in this earlier article.)

To relate to Ken’s example, the first step for Ken might be to ask himself this question: “What do I already know about SAP data?” His answers might be: I know “this” and “this” and “this,” jotting the specifics on paper or perhaps on sticky notes.  The nearby graphic shows what that concept map would look like.

My Knowledge of SAP DataConcept maps are extraordinarily valuable because they include the linking words, in this case the linking word is “includes.”  The linkages show a relationship between concepts that we call propositions.

Experts Knowledge of SAP dataAs a next step, Ken could go to people more knowledgeable than he (there are thousands of SAP experts available, and Ken’s project employed several dozen SAP consultants) and ask a question such as, “What are the most important things to know about SAP data, in the context of our strategic initiative?”  As he organizes what he learns (more instances of “this” and “this), he continues to elaborate what he knows.  It is an organized knowledge structure, perhaps more accurately called a knowledge scaffold.

Focus Questions

In the prior example, I used two different focus questions to generate the concept maps.  Note this essential point,

The purpose of a concept map is to help answer a focus question.

The relationship between the two is what makes this a powerful technique for learning, and thus a useful strategic tool.

As I practiced my first concept maps, I found that I would often just muddle for a while and then realize I was wasting time. Then I would try to find a focus question that organized my muddled set of propositions.

Researchers validate my experience. Canas and Novak, in a review of the technique, reaffirm that it is a powerful learning tool.  But they note that, “some difficulties seem to be pervasive.” The two most-relevant difficulties (for practitioners like me and you) are:

  1. Developing skill in constructing and structuring propositions
  2. Developing skill in asking good focus questions that relate to the concept map

I recommend that you follow the model suggested for Ken. The first focus question to ask is, “What do I already know about this topic?” Construct your propositions with the word “includes.”

Develop a second concept map by asking the experts this question to generate a deeper level of understanding, “What is essential to know about this topic?”  Here is an enlightening twist, “What are the seven most-important things to know about this topic?” By limiting the number of propositions at the high level, you learn which things are truly essential. Then deepen the concept map to understand those concepts that are most important to the high-level essentials.


Ken’s situation is common in strategic initiatives. It is related to two similar strategic initiative challenges:

  • How much subject matter knowledge should you personally attempt to grasp? As a leader, understanding the technical challenges at a level that assures that the program is making quality decisions.
  • How can you facilitate sharing of expert knowledge to others? Application of expertise and proprietary knowledge is at the heart of any strategy.  Communications is an essential leadership task.  The challenge is to conveying appropriate technical information quickly and effectively.

I heartily endorse concept maps as a useful tool and hope you will practice and build skill. They are deceptively simple when you see a good one that has been developed by someone else. I encourage you to persist.

Have you used concept maps and focus questions? What were the results?

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Agile Thinking, Habits, and Strategic Initiative Leadership: Transcending the Buzz for Useful Insights

agile business innovationThis article is composed of three chapters, all dealing with an emerging term, “agile thinking.”  Perhaps you have had similar experiences in your strategic initiatives.

Chapter 1: A Curious Conversation

Recently, a leader of strategic initiative stated, “we don’t need to embrace strategic thinking because we are agile thinkers.” My ears perked up, and I asked a question, “The purpose of strategic thinking is fairly well established (it is to create insights that are useful in crafting strategy). What is the purpose of agile thinking?”

His answer was that agile is about being creative: It is about being flexible, being focused on providing value, being innovative, and doing things fast. His answer was about “being” and “values,” it was not about thinking.  I tried asking the question differently, but made no progress with this individual: He clearly had not thought deeply about his “agile thinking” declaration. So, I let it drop.

(As an aside, the strategic initiative floundered and this program manager was replaced.  One reason for the situation was the manager was focused more on the agile methodology rather than creating business value.)

Later, I wondered if anyone has put effort into clarifying “agile thinking?” Is there a definitive answer, or least a thoughtful reflection?

I went to Google’s search engine. There are a handful of entries on agile thinking, but no responses to the more constrained search on “purpose of agile thinking.”  So here is my conclusion,

In present use, agile thinking means to embrace the “agile values” declared by agile software evangelists, those values being things like flexibility, speed, customer responsiveness, change, and good engineering.

The word “values” is appropriate, as every individual values things differently. Values are both situational and subjective. The value of speed in projects is generally desirable, but that value sometimes is in conflict with safety or productivity or quality. The value of flexibility is also generally desirable, but comes in conflict with systems integrity or cost.  The more thoughtful agilists will quickly clarify that they prefer their values but acknowledge the importance of those that seem to be in conflict.

I interpret, then, that most authors are encouragers, “Think about agile values.” The alternative meaning of agile thinking is less prevalent, “think (cogitate) with agility.”  The fundamental prescriptions are these: don’t become habitual in your thinking or behavior. Don’t be burdened by the past: try new things, experiment, innovate. Taking all the the agilists are saying, it seems to me that:

As a cognitive process, there are no practical differences
between agile thinking and creative thinking.

Do you agree with my conclusions?

Chapter 2: Corning’s Strategic Initiative: Agile Business Innovation

Last summer, I was asked to review an article in Strategy + Business, The Gorilla of Agile Business Innovation. Corning has a rather interesting initiative underway. The article tells us that:

“In the fall of 2012, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wendell P. Weeks started telling the Corning innovation team, led by Chief Technology Officer David L. Morse, that the company’s established RD&E [Research, Development, and Engineering] practices were neither good enough nor fast enough. Recognizing intensifying global competition and Wall Street’s never-ending demands for higher profits, Weeks began calling for “agile” innovation—an approach that would enable Corning to respond immediately to the needs of customers, as it famously did in 2007 when Steve Jobs asked the company for a better cover glass for the wave of Apple iPhones about to be launched. The company is currently dispatching its Ph.D. researchers to proactively develop more big opportunities.”

The remainder or the article tells us that Corning is practicing things that are encouraged by agilists:

  • It intends to develop more intellectual property and commercialize it faster
  • It is connecting its best scientists directly to the customer
  • It is thinking about risk differently: stepping outside of established process where there is  customer opportunity
  • Its managers are practicing servant leadership; removing barriers for the project teams
  • It is practicing more cross functional collaboration

My client asked me to use the Corning example to help its audience of product developers to understand agile. Using the “translation” that agile thinking means embrace agile values, I developed the nearby graphic.

I intended to show agile business innovation as a vision, supported by four pillars, each pillar holding a conceptual underpinning. From right to left, the explanation is:

  • Agile thinking is about encouraging and appreciating value, speed, and flexibility.
  • Agile thinking (again, agile being a set of values) encourages experts to communicate better and to recognize mistakes earlier. Hence, tools like scrum, iteration, and burn down charts have emerged.
  • In order to face current and emerging competitive challenges, business design and redesigned themselves. How? They leveraging certain resources that are “strategic” in their nature and effect.
  • Strategic thinking is about encouraging relevant and meaningful insights to the design of strategy.

This graphic stimulated good discussion and understanding. By clarifying that we are talking about values, we can then turn our attention to the appropriateness of the values to the situation. We can design an approach that best maximizes our chances of success.

Chapter 3: Agile Thinking and Habits Overcoming Status Quo Thinking

During my Google research on agile thinking, I found a set of thoughts from Ken Schwaber titled, Scrum is Hard and Disruptive. He twice points to the problem of habits, writing that “The most serious impediments to using Scrum are habits” and “These are inbred habits that we aren’t even aware of anymore.” Schwaber continues, “The focus of using Scrum is the change from old habits to new ways of doing business.”

Schwaber is a thoughtful guy, and he pins down the essence of the challenge for agilists: there are entrenched habits practiced by individuals, and solidified by organizational processes. The implication here is very important – strategic – even: These habits need to be recognized and replaced.

Importantly, habits perpetuate the status quo. Habits perpetuate the culture, both the cultures strengths and the culture’s weakness.

The core challenge for agilists is that they are saying that their values might be better than their audience’s values. They want to change habits, but often lose sight of whether changing habits is good for the business.

Conclusion: The Implications for Strategic Initiative Leadership

The literature on habits and changing habits is vast. So let me close out this article by suggesting that the path forward for strategic initiative leadership is to look closer at habits.  Your questions might be along the lines of these:

  • What behavioral and thinking habits of individuals are getting in the way of progress?
  • How do these habits get manifested into organizational processes? Are the processes appropriate for the current business reality?
  • Do we get more leverage by focusing on changing individual habits AND organizational processes? Or should we change the process, and get individual change through compliance?
  • Might we learn anything from the study of addictions (which are habits) that is appropriate for our change effort?
  • How might we build our proposed ideas into a story about improving business performance, such as how Corning has done?

Agile thinking is about values. Do you agree? Isn’t the core of organizational change an effort to remove dysfunctional habits and replace them with new habits? What do you do if the habit is not dysfunctional, but rather a value that you disagree with?  

Posted in Examples of Strategic Initiatives, Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking, Transforming the Organization | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Coherence: It is Only a Good Plan (Strategy) If It Makes Good Sense

Coherence & Strategic InitiativesThe well-known academic, Henry Mintzberg writes that strategy is a pattern of decisions. He argues (convincingly) that strategy is more than simply the intent to accomplish the vision; it is also the emergent result of manager’s activities.

If strategy is emergent, then it must somehow be influenced by the organization creating it. If strategy is a pattern, then organizations must have patterns. Interestingly, Wikipedia has an entry on organizational patterns, which includes this definition:

Patterns are those arrangements or systems of internal relationship, which give to any culture its coherence or plan, and keep it from being a mere accumulation of random bits.

The phrase “coherence or plan” jumped out at me. I’m sure I’m like many others in simply thinking of a plan as a premeditated and deliberate view of the steps, activities, and resources needed to create some future. For example, a strategic plan frequently nothing more than an artifact that is attempts to capture each manager’s view of goals and resources to attain those goals.

I now realize that that there is a more profound and fundamental perspective on “the plan,” it is only a good plan if it makes good sense.

However, the reality is that those goals are often in conflict and are unaligned. Strategic initiative leaders often find themselves in the middle of a group of managers who have these different goals. It is a huge source of frustration and obstacle to execution. Author Richard Rumelt (Good Strategy/Bad Strategy) states,

“The main impediment to action is the forlorn hope that certain painful choices or actions can be avoided – that the whole long list of all hoped-for “priorities” can be achieved.”

Most organizations pursue multiple objectives that are unconnected with one another (and sometimes even conflict).They are anything but coherent!

Coherence means that things make sense. In the context of strategy, it means that the committed resources, policies, and actions are consistent and coordinated. Back to Richard Rumelt,

“Strategic coordination, or coherence, is not ad hoc mutual adjustment. It is coherence impose on a system by policy and design…specifically how actions and resources will be combined.

My Advice to Strategic Initiative Leaders

Thus, I arrived at an insight that might be very helpful to the strategic initiative leader:  insert the concept of coherence into your discussions. How? One way is to ask simple questions, “Does this make sense? Where are the gaps? Are there conflicting objectives?”

One important question has to do with the expected gains of the strategy. The question is, “Are the benefits worth the sacrifices?”

Another way to encourage coherence is to activate the Chief Story Teller role, and use some of the many ideas that I have already provided on storytelling and branding.

Chances are that when things (strategies, goals, resources) don’t make sense, it’s already well known. What is missing is a useful narrative and the courage to discuss the incoherence.

Imposing coherence and discipline on an organization is difficult. I’ll close this article with Seth Godin’s interesting definition of hard work. He says that the meaning of hard work must change for the 21st century. He writes,

“None of the people who are racking up amazing success stories and creating cool stuff are doing it just by working more hours than you are.  And I hate to say it, but they’re not smarter than you are either.  They’re succeeding by doing hard work.

Hard work is about risk.  It begins when you deal with the things that you’d rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection.  Hard work is about training yourself to leap over this barrier, tunnel under that barrier, and drive through the other barriers.  And, after you’ve done that, to do it again the next day.”

Coherence is not a silver bullet for strategic initiatives, but a useful organizing framework. Do you agree?

Posted in How to Improve Your Story Telling Chops, Interpreting Strategy Documents, Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Four Ways that People Learn

adult learning cycle by David Kolb

One of the consistently popular “key learnings” in my seminars has been the four ways that people learn, also known as the Kolb Learning Cycle.

  • People learn from experience
  • People learn from reflection
  • People learn from conceptualizing
  • People learn from experimentation

Being a Change Agent: Bridging Tangible Experience With Conceptualizing

I challenge leaders to become agents of change. They can use the learning cycle by focusing on the elements of reflection and experimenting.  Consider a script such as this for encouraging reflection:

Let’s stop and take a deep breath. How are things going with this strategic initiative? Are people satisfied or frustrated with our progress?

You can encourage an experimental mindset which is valuable for learning:

Let’s give this a try. If it doesn’t work out we’ll learn something from it.

Culture is Shared Learning

I often hear people expressing the challenges of dealing with culture.  My defintion of culture is a shared learning of a group of people.

  • You’re trying to get them to learn new things
  • You’re trying to get them to un-learn existing practices

Suggestion: read my prior article Five Things a Strategic Initiative Leader Needs to Know about Innovation for more on this concept of culture and learning.

How do you encourage learning in your strategic initiative teams?

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Four Ideas for Creating Small Wins

Skadi wins de 124th Varsity

“Small wins” are modest accomplishments that attracts allies and deters opponents. Small wins are things that create or enhance a virtuous cycle, so they are not the same thing as a quick win.

How Strategic Thinkers Use Small Wins

As I pointed out in Five Rules for Managing Complex Strategic Initiatives, the leader’s goal is to create the conditions for good things to emerge.  Small wins help move the organizational system toward a new trajectories by nudging into new space or by wearing down an impediment.

Idea #1: Don’t let methodology get in the way of letting good things happen

Many organizations have created structured project processes that dictate step-by-step what should be done.

Processes define purposes and work steps; they eliminate ambiguity. They are good in stable business models. But when business models need to change, processes can get in the way.

The problem with these is that they work for routine situations but are ill-suited for non-routine, complex, and strategic situations. The strategic thinking perspective here is,

An opportunistic and experimental mindset attracts success.

Idea #2: Recruit allies

I recall working with a young woman who had great ideas, but few colleagues that she could trust (or trusted her – it was a very masculine environment). Ultimately, she left the organization.

By contrast, another young woman in the same organization was able to be successful. Her small win? She listened and resisted the impulse to argue.

Idea #3: Break down big goals into smaller objectives that are more concrete and short term

Small wins help to create an environment where the big goals become manageable tasks. To generate small wins, the leader seeks “a series of controllable opportunities of modest size that produce visible results.”

I look for opportunities to apply the “de’s and dis:”  De-compose, de-construct, and dis-ambiguate. Consider this technique,

Use the phrase “inch-pebbles” rather than “milestones” in your planning.

There are 160,934.4 centimeters in a mile for those of you that use the Metric system; so there are many places to note accomplishment of a small win.

Idea #4: Be generous with rewards (for yourself and for others).  But don’t overdo it.

Use this rule small wins = small rewards.  Here are some examples:

  • We will exchange high fives.
  • I’ll tell you a joke.
  • I’ll buy lunch.

How have you created small wins? What else can you do when faced with a goal that seems overwhelming?

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