Success Boards - How soon we (otherwise) forget...

Memory Test

Get a pen and a piece of paper, set a timer for 60 seconds

Write down all the things that have gone well in your life or business 3 to 6 months ago.


Here is part two.

Write down the bad stuff that happened 3 to 6 months ago.

You can try this with your management teams as well. If you are like the vast majority of the population you will have found it easier to think of the problems and bad stuff than to recall the progress you have made and the good stuff.

In life and business it is all too easy to lose sight of the progress you are making, particularly the small incremental changes. A success board is one way in which you can raise positivitity, recognise progress and capture achievements - small, medium and large.

In business the success board needs to be BIG, highly visible and accessible to everyone - a huge whiteboard on the wall of the office is ideal.

A personal success board can be kept on the wall of the bathroom (ideally close to where you shave/put on makeup) or taped to the inside cover of your daybook - you want to see it often.

There are four clear stages in creating and maintaining a success board.

Step One - Preparation

Your success board will be landscape with a line down the middle. If you are using a whiteboard investing in gridding tape to separate the halves is very worthwhile - though a permanent maker and a ruler will work as well and means that you can implement this today!

Step Two - Capture History

Gather you team round, make sure you have lots of different coloured pens (wipeable if you are using a whiteboard).

Give the team 10 minutes to put as many successes, achievements and progress items as they can recall that have happened in the past 6 months or so on the Left Hand Side of the board only, leaving the right hand side blank.

Step Three - Daily & Weekly Live Recording

**At least weekly** over the next 6 months start to fill in the right hand side of the board. This doesn't have to be done as a huddle - anyone can capture progress and success at any time. You might need to agree some ground rules for prominance, but any success small or large can be recorded. Here are some ideas:

  • Winning a new client,
  • Getting an unsolicited 'thank you' from a client
  • Handling a complaint rapidly and professionally
  • Implementing a better way of doing something.
  • Finding cost savings
  • A clean customer, supplier or external audit.
  • Being shortlisted for an award.

In any week there will have been things that have gone well. If they are not obvious your challenge as a leader is to find something (however small). They don't have to be about clients or profit - One of my businesses recently was hit by ransomware. The backup regime was tested in anger and worked as it should, recovering all of our encrypted data - a massive success for that business.

Step Four - The Six Monthly Review and Wipe

The success board (if big enough) should last about 6 months - though at the end you might be using thinner pens and struggling to find corners and gaps to write in.

At six months or when it is totally full gather the team and review your achievements for the period 6 to 12 months ago - agree the top 5 that you collectively think have made the biggest positive contribution to the business.

Take a photo of the success board for posterity.

Wipe the 'old' half of the board - leaving the achievements and successes for the past six months clearly visible. Start filling in the blank half with the live successes as they happen.

Why this works

This works because it is visible, it reminds people of small and large successes and this creates a feedback loop - you can't write a success on the board without reading, and being reminded of, other successes.