Start Small, Think Big

I have long been a proponent of "Start Small, Think Big." (In fact, I think I might be the originator of that phrase. However, if anyone wants to use it, be my guest.)

It applies to so many areas of life. Starting a business. Investing. R&D. You name it.

Plus it's organic. I mean, look at nature. Everything starts small --for instance, seeds turn into trees; babies turn into adults-- but each little thing has within it the blueprint for something much larger, maybe even for greatness.

Perhaps the most exciting application of SSTB is the field of change management. Each word is key:

START - A lot of organizational change initiatives stumble because of late starts and false starts. Instead, just start. Start somewhere where you think the conditions are right for a promising beginning.

SMALL - Remember the baby analogy. It's OK to start small, even very small. The key thing is to get going. Small wins will help build momentum. And small is easier than big. Find out what the problems are on a small scale. It'll cost less. And you'll learn faster.

THINK - You'll notice that the word "think" appeared in the START section above. Thinking is critical from start to finish. Gather data. And gather minds. Bring people together for think sessions.

BIG - As Stephen Covey has famously said, "Begin with the end in mind." That's thinking big. That's looking at the seed and imagining the tree.

So the key principles in SSTB include Taking Action, Critical Thinking, and Imagination.

Try it. See if your next change management challenge works any better than the last.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 29, 2008


David Zinger said…
I also love small. Thanks for a small article that has the potential for such big things.
Terrence Seamon said…
I believe that there is a power in small things, small gestures, small acts. Sometimes we do nothing because the problem seem too big. We get paralyzed. The antidote, I think, is to do something small. And keep doing small things. And get others to join in. Before you know it, you've taken a big chunk out of a seemingly insurmountable problem.


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