Man on top of the mountain with raised armsWe are all wowed by the big efforts.  When someone shows up and just dazzles us day in and day out.  It seems effortless for them to totally crush it every single day.  They show up on fire, make a dozen sales, write a thousand lines of code, still have time to meet their family for lunch, and show up in the afternoon to do it all over again.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get everyone on our team to do that?

Maybe we can.  And it’s not as much about them as it is about our own expectations.  If you are anything like me, you expect a lot from yourself.  You are always going for that big win.  Those small, daily victories almost escape notice.  You’ve come to expect them.

Unfortunately, those big wins don’t come every single day.  What do we do on the days with a slower pace?  What about those weeks while we are cultivating the big sale?  What about those day spent debugging that one problem we created in that thousand lines of code?

Sometimes, our quest for the big win transfers to those around us. We expect others to win big too.  And, if it has been a long time between wins, we might overlook a big (or even bigger than usual) victory thinking, “it’s about time.”  If this sounds familiar, maybe your expectations are set a little too high.

It doesn’t take phenomenal rock stars to get things done.  Incremental progress over a long period will yield positive results!  Instead of looking for unbelievable rock stars (yeah, we definitely want them too), give your people credit for moving the ball forward.  Today, we might only gain a yard.  But if do that a few more times…or maybe just a few more…we will score.  Remember the tortoise and the hare?

Now, in no way am I espousing mediocrity.  Mediocrity says you should just settle.  That it isn’t worth the effort to hit excellence.  That’s certainly not the case.  Excellence should always be our target – it just might take us a little longer to get there.  And, more importantly, take care of your people along the way.  Celebrate their small and large victories alike.  Don’t hand out participation awards, but sincerely celebrate progress!