Momentum: How a Series of Small Wins Maximizes the Flywheel Effect

Mar 1, 2021

Big things happen because you do a bunch of little things supremely well that compound over time.
— Jim Collins

One little thing doesn’t make a difference. But ten little things do make a difference.
— Swen Nater

A series of small wins makes:

  1. Hard jobs easier.

  2. Quitting unlikely.

  3. Problems less troubling.

  4. Environments brighter.

  5. Big wins attainable.

Momentum – how to leverage the flywheel:

#1. Develop people.

Lousy leaders press for results without developing people.

Behaviors are targets too. Describe, honor, and celebrate behaviors that create winning environments.

If it’s only about the numbers, people are tools.

#2. ‘Where’ comes before ‘how’.

Describe where you choose to go before you choose how to get there.

“The answer to how is yes.” Peter Block

#3. Practice 5X encouragement.

Encourage 5X more than you correct.

Which team goes further? A team that constantly cheers for each other or a team that constantly criticizes each other?

#4. Focus on learning.

What are we learning?

How could we do better next time?

What do we need to stop because it isn’t working?

#5. Take action quickly.

Delay kills momentum.

The sooner you begin spinning the flywheel, the quicker you enjoy the flywheel advantage.

Momentum begins with the first step.

#6. Keep spinning after winning.

Wins are endings. You win the race at the end.

Momentum is a series of successful endings that enable beginning again. Reaching today’s goal is an ending point that enables a new beginning.

Momentum killers:

  1. Critiquing small wins.
  2. Devaluing small contributions.

  3. Controlling rather than releasing. Permission-asking kills momentum.

  4. Feedback without encouragement. I believe in you.

  5. Lack of accountability. How are you going to improve? When will we follow up? How can I help? What’s the next step?

Confront momentum killing attitudes and behaviors.

What kills momentum?

What builds momentum?

Added resources:

Four Stages to Help Your Team Maintain High Morale and Momentum – Steve Gutzler

Swen Nater explains how John Wooden taught players to put on their socks! It’s the little things.

By Dan Rockwell