I remember a conversation with a young man once who was desperate to do something “big.” It almost didn’t matter what it was, he wanted to have something to brag about. He was very competitive in everything and quite good at many things when it came to sports. However, in matters of life and maturity he had much room for growth. My thought back then was that he didn’t need to do anything big right away. Rather, he needed to get himself grounded and on a steady (albeit boring to him) path of making progress toward a longer-term goal.
When I look at my company and my role in it, my goal is no less than to be instrumental in changing its culture of communication. You don’t take a large, Fortune 100, 50-year-old, hierarchical, highly regulated company and change its culture overnight. Instead, it is necessary to take baby steps, to be diligent and to win small battles that are all part of the larger plan to win the war.
We will get there. The small steps taken over the last couple of years have placed us in a better place than where we were two years ago. I am confident that we will look back a year from now and see more progress. It may not always be evident from one day to the next, but when we zoom out, the progress is evident.
I was reminded of this tonight watching my 10-month-old granddaughter learn to climb our basement stairs for the first time (shown in the picture above). There was so much thought, effort and determination in each laborious move to the next step. She was not about to give up, though. She kept going back to the steps to do it all again. She even turned around at the top and thought about going back down, but that wouldn’t have turned out so well today, so we kept her from doing that head first as she was inclined to do.
I don’t know what challenges you face or what you want to accomplish – large or small. But I bet you can benefit from remembering leap year lesson #31 – It takes baby steps.