Posted on: May 5th, 2011 by Jen Mueller

Instant results. That’s what we want. But it’s not always the best plan. Losing 20 pounds in a week? Bad idea for long term success. Working 20 hour days on a project? That just leads to burnout.

If you want real results it takes small improvements day after day. That’s how you develop habits and routines that lead to success. Take the Seattle Mariners for example. I was on their recent road trip where they won 5 of 6 games. It was a big turning point for the team and, according to manager Eric Wedge, it was a result of getting a little better in all areas. He also pointed out that early in the season the team was losing games by close margins or as a result of one or two plays over the course of the game.

In a baseball game – or any sporting event – it’s easy to identify wins and losses and areas of needed improvement. It’s a little more difficult to keep score in a conversation, but I think it’s important to remember that there’s a bigger picture. And every time you engage in a conversation you’re getting more comfortable with having an exchange. You don’t have to make major strides overnight, small steps and getting a little better over time is the best way to win that battle. Also keep in mind that just like Wedge’s comments about the Mariners play early in the season, close games get decided by little things. If the conversations aren’t flowing as smoothly as you’d like, you’re probably not that far off.

Keep plugging away and keep talking.