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Invisible Wins

When was your last time you celebrated an invisible win?

Invisible Wins

In business, some wins are easy to spot—such as the client-winning presentation followed by the big contract.

But many people work tirelessly behind the scenes to chalk up invaluable but less obvious wins.

For example, the IT guy who worked all night so production could be at 100% in the morning.  Or, your bookkeeper who searched for that last entry to make sure everything was accounted for.  Or, your marketing coordinator who spent hours coming up with a dynamite PowerPoint presentation that allowed you to win your last project.

All the successes that people see as big wins each have an equally impressive hidden win behind them.  And just as importantly, there are those behind the scenes that keep your daily production going that seldom get recognized.

These are your invisible wins.

And successful companies always remember to celebrate invisible wins.

Seeing Invisible Wins

Every employee needs to be able to see the value they bring to the mission of the business.

For the front-line employee, they see their results immediately.  A sales clerk sees the transaction happen.  A physical therapist sees the progress in the patient.  And a mechanic sees the piece of equipment back in service.

Your invisible staff, however, doesn’t receive the satisfaction of first-hand knowledge of what they do.  For example, it’s not obvious to connect the labors of the IT technician to the shoe salesperson.  These employees don’t have the nexus to the end product that most employees have.

But we all recognize that the invisible employees are equally important and that running and managing your business without them would be impossible.

This is why it is important that, as small business owners and entrepreneurs, we need to instill in our management practices a recognition of invisible wins.

Here are some suggestions on how to discover invisible wins.

  • Ask questions. Ask managers which members of their teams have been impressing them lately―particularly with small, day-to-day victories that would otherwise go unnoticed.
  • Be engaged. Try walking around the office and drop in on different meetings. Get a sense of the various teams and find out who is working on what projects, both big and small.
  • Encourage recognition. Create processes that allow everyone in the company to acknowledge wins of all types. Encourage people to write anonymous note cards recognizing others who have recently helped them.
  • Acknowledge publicly. Wins big and small deserve to be recognized beyond one-on-one meetings and within individual teams. Salute these individual contributors in a company-wide email or at a regular all-staff meeting. Acknowledging subtle wins as well as obvious ones, is a way to build morale and commitment across an entire company’s culture.

The Bible

Thinking of invisible wins reminds me of the Book of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah is an Old Testament book that is intriguing and brilliantly written.  It’s a captivating account of when Nehemiah returned from exile to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, which was a massive undertaking both in terms of the work and opposition.  The wall was rebuilt with one had working on the wall and a sword in the other.   Many people were involved and, while the story is about Nehemiah, there were many invisible wins needed to finish the wall.

Nehemiah 12:27-30 says.

…At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. The singers also were brought together from the region around Jerusalem—from the villages of the Netophathites…

God wants us to celebrate both the big wins and the small wins.  And he wants us to celebrate in a big way, so everyone knows we are enjoying a victory.

            Celebrate your big wins, but celebrate just as enthusiastically your invisible wins.