Time to let go of the big wins

My colleague is stressed. She feels she will not be able to get the required media coverage of the product launch that is being planned in a few days. The business and communication teams together have put an ambitious target to achieve grand visibility of the new product, thereby consolidating the company’s market position as the leader in that brand category. The company has clearly and wrongly, equated brand win with the number of media coverage received.

Most of us are fixated on big wins. We love putting out ambitious targets. It gives us the necessary push required to perform and deliver our best. What happens when we fail to achieve the target we had set? Should that be counted as a failure? It is always good to have a well thought of plan in place. But that does not mean that things will always swing the way we want them to.

Let’s focus on small wins

What do we do then? That is when we need to shift our focus. Let go of the big wins and give the small wins along the way the recognition that they finally deserve.

For instance, in the above situation, my colleague should be celebrating three key small wins: the coverage they receive, the network that the communications team would have built through their pitch and invitations, and the strong partnership with business.

Small wins also come by trying an alternate path. Continuing with my colleague’s example, what if instead of the standard ‘invite all’ media jamboree that was planned, communications had thought of doing things differently? What if the business team, the public relations consultancy, and the communications team had brainstormed to pick a new way to win? Sounds practical but does not happen always.

Here’s why we love to stick to routine – we need to acknowledge that whenever we push our brain to try something new, along with it comes good old fear of failure. Moving out of one’s comfort zone is never easy. There is a reason why SOPs exist. And a set routine brings with it a deep sense of comfort.

With every decision that we make, we move in a particular direction and that shapes the outcome for us. When we redefine what success would look like, it is a big step towards doing thigs differently.

Let’s NOT focus on the outcome

This is the paradox of success. That achieving something becomes easier if you are not trying to win! If you really want to win, forget the outcome. Stop being obsessed about them. An outcome focused approach makes one follow a set path. On the other hand, letting go of outcomes opens the doors for uncertainty, creativity, and innovation. For a change, focus on the process and progress.

What if my friend had chosen to do a radio jingle or a roadshow in key cities instead? Or targeted customers through social media influencers? We are fortunate today to have many channels that can be explored to give the right messaging. Unfortunately, staying in step with what has always worked and taking a conservative approach finds more takers than treading an unknown path.

Let’s focus on what’s in our control

There exist many uncontrollable elements in any event. A sure way to fail is by putting our energies on things that are beyond our control. There is no point getting stressed on what the heading of the story would be, which page it will be carried in and whether the narrative will be published in totality. Some things are the prerogative of the editorial team, and it is best to leave those to them.

By staying focused on what we can control (the messaging), we get the opportunity to shape our story the way we want it. We are then in the driver’s seat.

It is time we stand up for what we believe in, communicate clearly what we want, and step outside our comfort zone by trying something new.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Sarita Bahl is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Swedish Institute of Management Program. An experienced and versatile leader, she comes with nearly four decades of professional experience. She has over the years successfully overseen the communications and public affairs function and led the corporate social responsibility strategy for Bayer South Asia, Pfizer, and Monsanto, among others. Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, the public sector, trade associations, MNCs, and the not-for-profit sector. Her areas of interest include advocacy, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and communications.

As an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Senior Practitioner (Mentoring) from the European Council of Mentoring and Coaching (EMCC), Sarita specializes in career transition, inner engineering and life issues. Sarita enjoys writing and is passionate about animals, books, and movies.

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