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Small Steps, Big Results

May 23, 2011

There’s a scene late in a popular baseball movie that we can easily relate to. In it, an aging ballplayer details the incredibly slim difference in performance that has consigned him to a life in the minor leagues as opposed to playing in major leagues.

It’s a powerful reminder of how many little steps separate great performers from the rest. The good news is that in our careers we can examine those steps and make small changes that can lift performance to the highest levels. A host of suggestions about how to do this can be found in Getting to Great: Management Practices that Drive Great Store Performance a 2006 study done by FranklinCovey www.franklincovey.com for The Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council.

Consider the simple differences in behavior that produce clarity and commitment in the workplace. A high-performing grocery manager will focus on a few critically important goals and stick with them. He/she sets clear measures and gets the entire team involved in the plan and the measurements. A lesser manager takes a very different course, setting too many goals, changing them often and simply imposing the plan on the team without input or clear measures of success.

The differences are so slight, but the outcomes in terms of financial performance, customer loyalty and employee turnover are huge. Getting to Great sets down similar ideas on accountability, focus and achievement—in all cases offering small steps that build superior performance. The report’s simplicity ensures that any manager can follow along to transform them from ordinary to extraordinary.

You may not play in major leagues, but you can be great…one step at a time.

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council