What is a “quick win”? I’ve heard it used a lot over the last couple of years. The term has different meanings for different people. It is typically seen as a reference to the outcome of a project which requires little effort but offers high return.
I ran an n-gram using Google and found this image and quickly noticed the increase in the use of the term skyrocketed in the early 1990’s.
The term has obviously become very popular in our lexicon but is it being used wrong? I believe it is…
When a person enters a new role or needs to spark enthusiasm among a team, a quick win can be helpful; however, if we live by the “quick-win” model we will start looking more for Bandaids than true long term solutions. Leaders enter new roles needing to demonstrate their ability and a quick win can do that but innovative leaders know to get meaningful solutions which will deliver lasting results you must fail to succeed.
Quick wins are also simple, often obvious solutions to problems but when you think deeper you realize that if the solution was so easy then why did it not get done by the previous administration?
There is a place for quick wins when starting out a new process or system in order to gain buy-in but be careful. A quick win may actually set you up for failure down the road, especially if you must later remove the Bandaid to fix the problem you covered up in the earlier phase.
As an innovator I look for the deeper problem. Why does this look like a quick win? Could it be that the information I’m being given is intended to make me bite the quick win hook instead of dealing with the real problem? Could this be a strategic move by the problem causer to protect them self by distracting me with an easy win? Be careful when you look for quick wins as things are often too good to be true.