In August 2018, Greta Thunberg decided to skip school
Every school day, she sat outside the Swedish Parliament, holding a sign that read “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (“School Strike for Climate”). Soon, other schoolchildren started to join her – and then more students and activists around the world began protesting outside their local parliaments and city halls. Fridays for Future is now a global, youth-led climate strike movement – and it all started when one young woman skipped school.
Think big small: The strength of small steps
As Greta Thunberg and Fridays for Future demonstrates, movements often start with a very small group of people, united by a shared purpose. This group of people then take small steps that eventually turn into small wins, leading to stronger momentum around the larger movement. As the famous Chinese proverb goes: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
In other words:
Small steps ⏩ small wins ⏩ momentum ⏩ movement
It might seem counterintuitive, but “thinking small” is extremely effective in driving big change. Take the 2-millimeter rule, for instance, which explains that if a golfer changes the angle of his or her club by even two millimeters, the trajectory of the ball changes greatly. It might seem like a tiny difference, but the ball has a completely different destination.
Similarly, in his book, “Atomic Habits,” author James Clear argues that making small changes can help build long-lasting habits and positive results. He writes, “If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.”
In sum, here’s why small steps are so effective:
📈 Small steps add up – and once you start achieving success, it’s easier to keep going.
🐌 Small steps help to create habits and consistency, giving you more motivation to pull through.
💧 Small steps are not overwhelming, so they are easier to stick to.
🔎 Small steps make change visible, which can motivate others to join – change is contagious!
Just remember: If (and when) everything isn’t going according to plan, you’ll only be two millimeters away from success.
The freedom of working agile
The beauty of small steps is you don’t need a fully complete, well-hatched plan to get started.
At Limelights, we work with agile methodologies – and the beauty of agile is the freedom to “think big, start small.” While it can be tempting to lay out a comprehensive plan to achieve your big goals – which, in most of our client’s cases, is accelerating sustainability – we find that it is more worthwhile to design a series of small steps. We cannot control what happens in the long term, so taking small steps allows us to make adjustments along the way.
Some small steps you can take to get started include training a small group of employees to become Facilitators of Change or embarking on the first step of the SPRINT process – but this depends on your overall objectives and bigger picture.
👉Need help starting small to go big? Reach out today to explore how you can use the power of small steps to drive long-lasting change in your organization!