Step 15 – Celebrate Small Victories


What the experts say – Jim Benson, co-author of Personal Kanban says it this way…”Life is short. Crap is Plentiful. Thus defines the human condition.” Jim is a collaborative management consultant, and once again being a guy that studies and employs lean/sigma and agile project management techniques, I just eat this stuff up.  Jim posits that there are 3 ways that projects get into trouble. 1) Having a rigid definition of success which in turn almost inevitably creates a self-fulfilling prophesy guaranteeing failure in the attempt to avoid failure. 2) Failure worship. This is where you disregard the fact that projects (like life) have variation in the path from inception to completion. Failure worshippers see these variations as unplanned events and therefore a failure since we didn’t account for it, even when the variation produces positive results! When you look for failure you will find it, but when you worship failure (and most of us do this because we have been programmed to do it) you will not only find failure, you will ignore success as well. 3) Success Blindness – See Failure worship. When we reverse this behavior by replacing it with the celebration of incremental victories, success begets success and ultimately teams find ways to continuously improve performance rather than setting up systems who’s only goal is to avoid the pain of failure. (Remember Step 6?) Celebrate incremental victories! Take credit for jobs well done, and do them even better the next time.

How I did it. – I am a firm believer in hard and soft targets. So I set them realistically, every day. Once I had come to the realization that it took years to gain the weight and it is more than likely going to take years to lose it, I could move forward without the pressure of trying to drop 40 lbs before my next high school reunion which btw…is in two weeks. Once I was able to set the overall goals that I wanted to achieve over the course of the first year, the rest was easy. Each month had a hard target which was non-negotiable and a soft target which was just icing on the cake.  Each week also provided more opportunities for attainable hard and soft targets which I posted internally and on my FB page.  And trust me, when I missed it, I heard about it, and it was great as it served as a catalyst for improvement.  After a while, I was celebrating every day, marking the failures in light of the victories and not the other way around. Start off with what you can do, even if it’s only 5 push-ups once a day hard target with a soft target of twice a day coupled with a half mile walk.  Knock that out and build on it. Like my FB page at and post your victories so we can share them together!