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How New Leaders Can Achieve Quick Wins

| February 10, 2009

by Jim Bruce

This week’s Tuesday Reading “How New Leaders Can Achieve Quick Wins” is an interview with Mark E. Van Buren and Todd Safferston who looked at how quick wins affected the success and futures of new leaders.  (A full article on this subject, The Quick Wins Paradox,“ appears in the January 2009 of the Harvard Business Review.)

Their research which studied 5400 new leaders demonstrated that the most successful new leaders secured quick wins.  These wins enabled these new leaders to establish credibility with their clients and business stakeholders more quickly. Their work also demonstrated that it wasn’t just an individual quick win but rather that it was the result of a collective effort, working with others and building your staff to get results that really made the difference.

Van Buren and Safferston’s work also showed that 40 percent of new leaders fall short of getting the quick win. Their five most common mistakes were:

1.  Excessive focus on details, thus losing sight ofthe big picture and losing the ability to prioritize.

2.  Reacting negatively to criticism.

3.  Intimidating others.

4.  Jumping to conclusions.

5.  Micromanaging. 

Whether you are a new leader or in a new role or not, these five common mistakes are ones that you can easily trip over.  So, this week, take a step back and examine your style and take corrective action, if needed, immediately.  And if you are a new leader, go with your team, for the solid quick win. 


Have a great win.  .  .  .  .     jim