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The quick-win strategy

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I'm coming up on my one-year anniversary with PGi. Time flies when you're having fun.

Looking back at the year, I think I have accomplished a lot. We launched a new corporate website (www.pgi.com) and made some significant improvements to our online marketing program. Our metrics are improving on a weekly basis. Most importantly, I brought on some great new team members who are going to help get us to where we want to be.

Taking an inventory of work done throughout the year really forces you to look back and evaluate the choices you've made on what to do and where to focus your time and resources.

I have to admit, I'm still frustrated that I didn't get more done. I just see so many opportunities to do more and to get better.

But, in other ways, I'm happy that I didn't try to take on too much too soon. As I always tell my team, "I know you can do anything, but you can't do everything." A common trap that I see new hires fall into is that they see so many areas for improvement and then try to take on all of them at once. That's what I call a "boil the ocean strategy." The results usually aren't very good. You end up spending too little time on too many things. The outcome is that nothing actually gets done.

I prefer a "quick-win strategy." Find one thing that you can do that won't take months to complete and just go after it. Do it really well and show the results. Then go on to the next quick win and repeat the process all over again.

After a while, you'll start to show some real progress as a bunch of small quick wins start to add up. You'll also start to get a reputation as someone who gets stuff done. And in any organization, being perceived as "effective" can really help your career. The next time a special CEO project comes up, you just might get tapped to run it based on your track record.

Also, building up the street cred with your quick wins will eventually help you when you're ready to take on some of the bigger, longer-term and more ambitious projects. Your management and peers will have more faith that you can get it done and it won't be one of those never-ending projects.

So when you're looking at all the projects on your overflowing plate, just think about how to break them up into smaller quick-win projects that you can get done now. Just like in baseball, the teams that consistently put runs on the board usually beat the teams that live and die by the home run. Jeff Perkins is VP-global online marketing with conferencing and collaboration solutions company PGi (www.pgi.com). He can be reached via email at jeff.perkins@pgi.com; on Twitter: @jeffperkins8; on LinkedIn; and via his blog, Single-Minded Proposition.

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