The news lately has carried several stories about people lamenting that their tax refund is much smaller than usual. For some people, the total amount of taxes paid could be equivalent or less than the aggregate tax paid in previous years, but how it is paid – and thus, the amount of refund earned – is really what is at issue.

Employers, marketers and others should note this phenomenon and incorporate lessons from it into their policies and behaviors. A little payment over a long time doesn’t amount to much in the mind of the payee – but it does accumulate (such as in a retirement plan). The converse is true – that a little increase in pay doesn’t seem significant in the employee’s mind – but a bonus check with the same amount in one lump sum seems to have more heft and buying power. A small, incremental improvement isn’t noticed but one large renovation or change creates enhanced impact.

If a small difference seems to be swallowed up in the scope of the whole, people should use this to their advantage. Do small things that add up to good and you won’t notice it or hold back small rewards until they become a big win and gain more from the same amount.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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