January 31,  2020

The Power of Small Wins

Each EmpowerED 3.2.1 features a brief summary of my musings about and learning from multiple disciplines as they apply to leadership in education.


3 Big Ideas

  1. The “progress principle” is critical to small wins. Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during the work day, making progress in meaningful work is tops. In schools, the progress principle is observed as students demonstrate learning with rigorous assignments and a growth mindset; as teachers take deep data dives to design meaningful lessons; and as principals provide feedback that supports teachers and points them to improved practice.


  2. Small wins form a pattern of consistent winning. They keep people from feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of change and promote learning as you go. Regular celebrations that highlight progress can propel performance!
    See Just ASK Deeper Dive:Small Wins to Celebrate and Ways to Celebrate Them.” 


  3. A person’s “inner work life” on any given day fuels performance for that day and can even affect performance the next day. Apply this to our classrooms and see motivating and personalized learning, kind words and authentic interest, culturally relevant learning, and equity of opportunity.
    See “The Power of Small Wins” from the Harvard Business Review



“Small wins have a transformational power. Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion to favor another small win and another small win until the combination of these small wins lead to larger and greater accomplishments.” 

-Mehrnaz Bassiri,
Biotech scientist, educator, speaker, and author
Vancouver, British Columbia

See Bassiri’s  TEDxChilliwack talk titled “To Achieve Success, Start Detecting Your Small Wins.” 


Celebrating small victories reminds people of the overall goal.” 

-Skip Prichard
CEO and acclaimed author and speaker on leadership

See Prichard’s “Top Reasons Why Great Bosses Celebrate Small Wins.”


1 Question

What small wins can you identify to boost motivation and performance and how might you celebrate them?

About the Author: Marcia Baldanza is also the author of Professional Practices, a Just ASK Senior Consultant. and adjunct professor at Virginia Tech. Until recently she worked for the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida, where she was an Area Director for School Reform and Accountability; prior to that she was Director of Federal and State Programs.


Want to receive EmpowerED 3.2.1 in your inbox?



Share this blog