It has always been common practice to take a big goal and break it down into smaller steps and technology has made it so easy to do. We measure everything these days — the number of steps you take in a day, the number of times you shop at a particular store, the number of reps during your workout – and more tracking provides greater opportunity for creating arbitrary milestones to celebrate.

In the era of computer gaming, recognition becomes even more important to do as gamers are used to achieving acknowledgment upon reaching intermediate “levels” – and soon the expectation will carry over into the workplace. As a supervisor, you can increase motivation by creating – then celebrating – interim steps on a long journey.

An example of this occurs in the St. Louis schools where the “100th Day of School” has become a big deal. There are special projects (eg: bringing in 100 items of something, writing 100 words, 100 Days t-shirts, 100 prizes, etc.). It has become so special that when two kids had to miss school that day for an out-of-town engagement, they shared their own 100 Days photo (below) on social media.

I have written before about the President’s 100 Days and the arbitrary badges provided by Fitbit, but you can make anything seem special by so declaring it, even if it has no legitimate significance. Think about the big tasks you are facing: a tax season, a new equipment installation or a road trip with the family. How can you provide demarcation for moments along the way: free lunch when the 124th return is filed, everyone does jumping jacks when the equipment is out of the box or you pull over for ice cream at the first exit after the 87th mile.

You possess the power to create something out of the ordinary at any point in a journey. Use that ability to motivate yourself and others to keep going.

Thanks, Brian!

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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