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Quick-wins or low-hanging fruit as some people call them are the scourge of your organization. Why? Because, in organizations with high work pressure and little resources, they’re the first point of action while they’ve got the least impact.
What is it with quick-wins that gives us a sense of accomplishment? Does it look good on a status report to see that you’ve completed various actions? Or do we really think we are making progress?
If you’re honest with yourself, as a senior professional, do you truly believe those quick-wins made a real difference? Did they impact your organization in a way that increased employee performance? Did they have a lasting effect on desired business outcomes? No? I didn’t think so.
I believe, especially for companies with high work pressure and little resources, focusing on the big project that has a clear business impact is a smarter way to apply your scarce resources. Especially for more senior professionals as such projects are more challenging and rewarding, both on a professional as a personal level.
So does that mean we should drop quick-wins all together? Not per se. Some of these projects can be valuable to address, simply don’t use senior staff to pick them up. Junior employees can learn a lot from such quick win projects. You can trust to address them as they see fit and have a senior employee coach them where they require support. This way you’ll keep your high performers engaged working on challenging projects that impact the business and you are growing your junior professionals with the trust given in running projects on their own.
So next time when you’re assigning people to projects, or a project is assigned to you, think about if this is the best use of their/your capabilities and if the results of the project truly impact business outcomes where they matter most!