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Celebrate Small Wins to Track Progress on Long-Term Goals

By Bill R. Shelton, CEcD

Progress on economic development projects with long-term and far-off goals can be difficult, if not impossible, to track - particularly for the many community stakeholders who are not actively involved in the actual development operations. Success and progress on economic development projects do not happen often, which is why when something important has been accomplished, there is often a lot of media hype and celebration.

But by only celebrating the big wins, we tend to forget the many small wins that occur every day that lead up to the big wins. By taking a moment to acknowledge the small wins and celebrate their value in achieving goals, stakeholders can share in economic development accomplishments and track the ongoing progress of an operation. Here are three reasons to celebrate small wins:

Small wins shows positive activity. A series of wins of small, but significant, milestones or tasks reveals a pattern of successful activities that builds confidence in the operations of the economic development program and blunts criticism of perceived inactivity or lack of progress.

Small wins produce results. Small wins produce results because they build group commitment to a course of action. Small victories attract constituents and get stakeholders to remain engaged and positive.

Small wins show visible progress and a culture of success. Celebrating the positive accomplishments of the organization fosters a symbolic culture of success, which in turn reinforces commitment to long-term goals.

Small wins focus on the here and now, showing your organization’s current activities. While they should be celebrated, celebrate them with the caution that while they are important to the momentum and success of the organization, the work is far from over. Don’t celebrate a small win forever. The focus should be on the next small win and achieving long-range goals.

Journey Awareness Persona Economic Development/Elected Official City Government