Small Actions With BIG Impact

by Apr 3, 2015

When I deliver keynotes or training programs, I often tell people to start small. Just doing little tiny actions, that seem ever so small, can really make a big impact on organizational culture. So I loved it when a friend sent me this video!

It’s all about Josh Yandt, who was bullied at high school. Out of ideas on how to stop it, he and his mother decided to move so he could attend a new school. Now with a fresh start Josh decided to change his path and hold the door open for fellow students. Morning after morning he greeted strangers as they walked through the door, and while the students thought it odd at first, after awhile they began to appreciate his gesture, learned his name, and greeted him back.

Then something interesting happened – the school’s culture changed. Students reported that they looked forward to Josh’s pleasant greeting and they noticed more kindness overall around campus. Josh’s small action impacted the entire school.

Here’s the video – check it out.

Still not convinced small actions can have a big impact?

In another example of how small actions can work wonders, a few researchers decided to determine if a small gesture of kindness could impact employee performance at work. They gave several test groups a piece of candy before they sent the groups off to solve a word problem. Several control groups were asked to solve the same problem, but received no candy.

Over and over again, the groups who received the piece of candy talked more openly, were more innovative in finding a resolution, had less conflict, and solved the word problem faster than the control groups who received nothing. In fact, the groups who received a piece of candy often got up and offered to assist the groups who hadn’t finished solving the problem yet.

Another small gesture with a big impact.

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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