Making progress to make a difference 

During my last couple of posts – ‘The importance of purpose‘ and ‘Getting unstuck to make progress‘ – I wrote about the time that I lost, & then refound my purpose, and then what helped inspire to get unstuck to make progress.

This post follows on from there.


By using the awesome Unstuck app, I now had a better understanding of what was stopping me, and a set of realistic actions focused on helping me to move forward to achieve my vision of what & who I wanted to be.

I started by setting myself a challenging vision to work towards. Something that would stretch me. Something that was built on my beliefs. Something that could guide me in all my decisions.

This was my vision: 

I will have a positive impact on all the people that I touch in the world – my family, my friends, my colleagues, my local community – and I will leave a dent on the world in the future.
I will set the bar high for everything I do and seek to do life better.
I will transform my team into a great team. I will believe in myself, trust my gut and do things my way.
I will, be me. 

So it was time to put this vision into action. To do, that I needed a plan that I could follow, a plan that will support me to achieve my vision, and a plan that I could deliver.

So I started with the most important action: I had to be a better me. 

Action 1: Become a better me

One of the keys things that I learnt about myself over that winter was how much I didn’t like who I had become at work. I wasn’t enjoying my job. I wasn’t being positive about my work. I wasn’t seeing the difference I was making. I was trying to change myself so that I could to fit into a culture that wasn’t me. I had lost my spark. Simply, I wasn’t being me.

So I started with a simple action – I will be me in everything I do. The way that I work. The way that I lead a team. The way that I manage staff. The way that I engage with people.

Once I set that action into practice, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Me being me wouldn’t fit easily within the culture of the team that I was now part of – but if I wanted that culture to change, I would need to be the culture that I wanted to see.

That then led into my second action: I needed to start crafting and fostering a new culture within my team. 

Action 2: Be the culture I wanted to see

I needed to go back to work and set in place the seedlings of a new culture. A new way of working. A new ethos for the team. 

On the first day back I arranged a team meeting for a couple of weeks time – the first ever team meeting of the team.

Before then though I set in train some key motions. I set individual targets for each members of the team so that we all had to finish pieces of work. I started to analyse whether the tasks that people were doing were related to their strengths and skill sets. I started to think about what the team needed to do differently to become a great team.

For the team meeting I set out a clear agenda for a purposeful meeting. We would have an open and honest conversation about the issues, tensions and conflict within the team. We would talk about our feelings. We would think about our individual and collective strengths and weaknesses. We would look at the threats to the team and better understand the opportunities ahead of us. We would set out high standards for our work. We would set out a clear path forward.

We finished the meeting with a team Swot analysis and the outline off a team work programme. We finished the meeting with two products. We had achieved something. Something to be proud of. Something to celebrate. 

This then led to my third action: I started to celebrate our successes when we achieved them – big or small.  

Action 3: Make and celebrate our progress

For my plan to work we needed some quick wins to start to create an environment of achievement, an environment of delivery, and environment of constantly seeking to move forward.

So we pulled together a list of tasks we could finish easily. Some small. Some big. Some that only we would see. Some that would be seen by others. 

And when we had done them, I started to celebrate them by sharing them via email across the whole team – and sometimes beyond.

I also started to use an approach that Howard Schultz used at Starbucks – I started to sign off those emails with a single word. A word that showed we were moving forward – whether with big steps or small. A word that showed we were constantly improving. 

That word was – progress.

But this was only the end of stage one of achieving my vision. There were many challenges, obstacles, and successes still to come… 

5 thoughts on “Making progress to make a difference 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s