The Snowball Effect of Small Wins
Small wins compound into monumental successes; celebrate every step to harness exponential growth.
WRITTEN BY: ADAM DANYAL
We all want the quick win - the immediate success that validates our ambitions. But lasting achievement is a slowly accumulating process of small wins. As leaders, we must find satisfaction in minor progress and view small wins as the seeds of greater success.
Consider the snowball effect. A single snowflake seems powerless, but as trillions join together, they create massive snowballs rolling down hills. Each new flake that sticks expands the snowball’s size and momentum.
Our accomplishments grow the same way. Every small win attracts new momentum to propel our efforts forward. But we first have to celebrate the small wins along the path, not just the ultimate destination.
Look at sales teams. The urge is to high-five only when someone lands the whale. But selling success depends on building sales skills through small wins like landing meetings, delivering compelling pitches, and converting prospects. Sales leaders must praise these small wins as enthusiastically as closed deals. Each progresses reps up the sales learning curve.
Or examine product launches. It’s easy to stay heads-down until the big rollout. But development sprints produce many small wins worthy of applause, like completing prototypes, resolving bugs, or recruiting beta users. When leaders spotlight small achievements, team energy and optimism rise.
Even our personal growth benefits from the snowball effect. Progress feels slow when we focus only on our end goals. But when we acknowledge small improvements in habits or mindsets, our motivation spikes. Each book read, exercise session completed, and reflection written is a mini-achievement that propels our personal snowball.
So reset your sights. Define what small wins look like for you and your team. Recognize them publicly. Use small wins as stepping stones to keep momentum strong. Climbing a mountain seems impossible until you praise each foothold gained. With enough small wins, you’ll reach every summit you seek. The snowball effect works when leaders spotlight the small.
From our Leadership Bookshelf:
WRITTEN BY: JULIA DANYAL
In “Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones” by James Clear, the author breaks down how small, daily actions compound into remarkable results over time. Clear's teachings strongly reinforce the snowball effect.
Three key takeaways:
1. Start Small - Clear advocates starting with tiny habit changes, not big transformations. Small wins build the momentum for greater success.
2. The 1% Rule - Improving by just 1% daily equates to a 37x gain in one year, says Clear. Small wins consistently compound.
3. Celebrate Wins - Clear stresses the importance of celebrating small milestones. This positive reinforcement sustains the motivation required.
As Clear convincingly outlines, atomic habits channeled in the right direction create an exponential trajectory of achievement. By praising small progress, leaders apply this same explosive potential to their teams. With enough small wins, any habit, skill or goal can snowball into extraordinary results.