Sweet Success - How Early Wins Drive Change


You have a craving. It’s late but you’re looking for something sweet. You check the freezer for ice cream; none there. Then head to the pantry to find cookies; nothing to be found. Above where the cookies usually are you see a box of Lucky Charms. It’s time to improvise! You have no desire for the cereal tonight, you just want the marshmallows. So, what do you do? You open the box and pick the marshmallows off the top. You achieve a win. You didn’t eat through all the cereal to get there. That would be dreadful, and it’s unlikely you would even do it. You satisfied a need quickly. 

Your late-night cravings aren’t so different from the “cravings” of individuals, teams, and organizations during change projects. That’s why it is important to deliver early wins during implementation. Let’s break down a few reasons why an early “marshmallow” for those impacted by a change can drive the future success of a project. 


Rewards those impacted 

Your teams work hard, and now you are asking them to do even more. Providing a reward early in a change timeline will make that hard work feel worth the effort. Adding more plain “cereal” to the bowls your teams are already working on can feel overwhelming. Let them know that it isn’t for nothing. 

Builds support 

Providing your team with a “marshmallow” early on can encourage them to buy into the change. They now see how the initiative is positively impacting their work and likely will become excited for upcoming changes. 

Encourages follow-through 

Think of it this way, if you were to open that box of Lucky Charms and dig through without seeing any marshmallows, how likely would you be to continue searching? Maybe there aren’t any in there. Maybe you should give up.  
If we apply that thinking to your change, it would be the worst possible scenario for your teams. If positive impacts aren’t communicated to those doing the work, it will be difficult to get them to follow through with your entire desired change plan. 

How to do it 

To achieve early stage success in a change project you want to first identify easy and obvious “wins” for those impacted. 

To do that you will want to perform a detailed impact analysis. This will outline who is being impacted and in what ways. It shows the positive and negative parts of your change for end users. If you are making this analysis, you should be seeing more positives than negatives.  

If you are looking where to start with a detailed impact analysis, let us know. We will be happy to provide you with a template and instructions to help you thoroughly outline your impacts. 

Secondly, it will be critical to communicate your change, the process, and the rewards to your end users. It is not only important to outline what is coming, but to also show how it benefits your team and when they can expect it. No one likes to be left in the dark, and as mentioned previously, knowing that positive change is coming can impact support and follow-through. 

If you aren’t sure how to thoroughly communicate your change, rewards, and timeline to your team, please reach out. Communications are a specialty of ours. We’ll listen to your ideas and provide our recommendation for how to best communicate your plan. 

By following the above advice, you (and your teams) will be well on your way to many “marshmallows” in a successful change delivery.