Have You Heard of the Progress Principle?
Posted by: Emma Trenier
Have you heard of the progress principle?
Regardless of incentives and recognition, the degree of accomplishment that we experience day-to-day has been highlighted as the #1 factor in high performance. So claim Teresa Amabile and Stephen Kramer, in their new book The Progress Principle.
It makes sense that we are more productive when we make daily progress, but the thing that strikes me is that so often when we make progress, we don’t notice or stop to acknowledge it, because we just don’t appreciate the value of each small step. You’re probably aware of Capp’s research showing that when people use their strengths they are more likely to achieve their goals. That is, they are more likely to experience that motivating feeling of accomplishment spurring them on to keep going, or to achieve the next thing.
So, my question to you is ‘How can we use our strengths to accomplish our daily tasks?’
Here are some reflections from the Capp team:
1. Use Your Strengths to Plan Your Day
Be clear on what needs to be done by the end of the day. If you are creative, draw a mind map. If you are ordered, write a list. If you have reconfiguration as a strength, use a set of post it notes.
2. Strength Checks
As you begin a task stop for ten seconds and think about the strengths that you can bring to it. Are you going to handle it using your Improver strength? Or perhaps your Enabler?
3. Pat on the Back
When you accomplish one of your tasks, however small, give yourself a pat on the back and take notice of the strengths you used to get there. You might even make a note of your achievement if you think this will help you to believe it.
4. Notice Your Energy
Time passes quickly when we are in flow, so you may not often think about what you’re doing when you enjoy these moments. When time has disappeared and you’ve barely noticed what you’ve been doing, notice the strengths that you were using and how they contributed to your progress.
5. Make Your Own Meaning
For those unappealing tasks use your imagination to find your own unique way of accomplishing them. This might mean creating a tea-making spreadsheet or competing with yourself to enter data but, using your strengths, it will lead to quicker accomplishment.
Perhaps it’s an uncontroversial speculation, but it’s one with a highly under-estimated impact: using our strengths to achieve the minutiae of daily tasks is one of the smallest things we can do to make the biggest difference – both to how we feel and to how effective we are.
Go and use your strengths to make progress today!