Continuing with the theme of driving and sustaining change, one proven way to get people on-board with new and better ways (i.e., improvement) of doing things is to achieve success – and to do so quickly!
Thus the concept of “quick wins” can be very important.
A “quick win” is exactly what it sounds like, that being a successful improvement made in a short amount of time. A few guidelines for defining and completing a “quick win” include:
- Must be completed in 4 to 6 weeks at most (many are implemented much faster such as in a “kaizen blitz” where a small group focuses full time on an improvement for a day or two).
- Relatively low cost of implementation (if a solution requires a significant capital it will likely take longer periods of time to gather approvals, funding, etc.).
- Small or manageable team size. If an initiative requires a large team or cross-functional buy-in, chances are it will be a slow win if it succeeds at all. In fact, a quick win is almost always an improvement that can be completed with the people closest to the work and with the resources close at hand.
Sometimes a “quick win” is a high value improvement executed with speed. But even an improvement with small dollar impact can have a great ROI — because the time and expense invested is so low and the organization begins reaping the benefits so quickly.
In addition to making sustainable and potentially recurring gains in less time, there are numerous other benefits associated with a “quick win,” which include:
- Builds momentum
- Defuses cynics
- Enlightens pessimist
- Energizes people
A few best practices for successfully achieving “quick wins” are:
- Don’t Let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If a problem appears to be too costly to tackle or if resources are not readily available, seek a more attainable “plan B” as opposed to tabling or abandoning the effort.
- Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Many of us choose scopes that are way too big. A large scope greatly slows the work and reduces the likelihood of success, making the project into a lumbering giant.
- Rely on the people close to the work, who often have the best ideas about the problem and possible solutions.
- Keep it simple.
- Have fun! A quick win is both satisfying and fun! Make sure you celebrate and spread the news!