Recognise This! – Focus on the big goals, but don’t forget to celebrate the smaller achievements along the way.

Do you have any BHAGs – you know, Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals? I do. My primary BHAG is to change the way the world recognises and appreciates employees, changing company cultures for the better in the process.

That’s a daunting goal, indeed! And if that’s all I focussed on, I might become overwhelmed by it. Instead, I always have that goal in mind whilst I work to shorter-term goals such as helping just one company, even just one HR pro at a time change their culture for the better. And I see success in this smaller goals nearly every day.

These shorter term achievements are critical to BHAG success, as recently described in the Financial Times article “Tiny Bursts of Joy Pave the Way to BHAGs.” Discussing Teresa Amabile’s research on the importance of honoring progress,  the article points out:

“If companies hit big goals infrequently, and the incentives for reaching them have toxic side-effects, it would be better for them to find other ways to encourage worker engagement. Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School and her husband Steven Kramer, a developmental psychologist, believe an obvious, but often overlooked, approach is for managers to remove barriers to day-to-day progress at work. …

“Even quite small steps forward at work generated a burst of joy (yes, it sounds hokey – but they maintain it’s the correct word for what they discovered) that inspired creative work over a period of days.”

So take a moment to think about it. What recently brought you a “burst of joy”?