Do you have the patience and wisdom to take those small steps?


When Neil Armstrong placed man's first footprint on the moon in 1969, his words echoed across the world:

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

His words still ask us to choose between giant leaps and small steps. In a world eager to acclaim giant leaps, small steps are easy to ignore. Yet, in reality, it's often those small steps that take us to far greater goals.

In many businesses, long lead times and long term projects can outlast many executives who won't be there to celebrate any successes. Progress comes in small steps that need to be recognised and, almost always, celebrated.

Never overlook the value of celebrations for each small progression!

Long lead times and long term projects are often frustrating to middle managers who, often having little or no input to strategic direction, are charged with its execution. In these circumstances, middle managers should be congratulated for the small steps of progress that they do make.

Frustration by middle management is hardly new, but having to clarify upward whilst executing downward, takes great skill that is usually and easily overlooked. Such skill needs to cover operational and people aspects.

But what is more important, operational skills  or people skills?

A recent international comparative study by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the London School of Economics (LSE) on Australian manufacturing, concluded that, whilst management was good at operational aspects, it was poor at people management and development.

The findings were simple - improve people performance and you improve business performance. Small improvements and small steps can achieve great goals, making big differences to people and profit.

Quality of management is a key ingredient in business success and improving it can transform an organisation. In an earlier New Zealand study, UTS/LSE found that if management skills and capabilities were improved and moved from the lower to the upper levels of measurement, this would equate to a 41% increase in its workforce or an increase in capital investment of 75%.

Perhaps the New Zealand improvements might not be as dramatic elsewhere, but they clearly demonstrate how improving management skills can improve people, performance and profits significantly.

Significant improvement might seem like a giant leap but it only takes one small step to begin.


"It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backwards." Chinese proverb.

Do you take small steps and make progress, or prefer the leap, the different way that can often keep progress at bay?

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step." Lao Tzu (570--490BC), Chinese philosopher.

Do you your journey begin and take small steps to win?

Charles Kovess

Australasia’s Passion Provocateur ©



Charles Kovess CSP is a lawyer, successful businessman, professional speaker and passion provocateur.

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