How solving small problems helps you deliver big value

Photo by Christine on Unsplash

I’ve noticed a lot of teams that feel detached from the business take on work they perceive as sexy or fashionable, hoping to get recognized as valuable.

They think these BHAGs (Big, Hairy A** Goals) will show their value.

It’s a trap!

Often the team overlooks deep seated friction and structural challenges when taking on these impossible problems. Legacy debt impedes progress, turning the BHAG into a boat anchor.

We need to finish the work to deliver value.

Consider the key to delivering big value is solving smaller problems.

Embrace the power of small

Solving minor problems is a low-stakes way to explore our fear, understand friction, and work to combat the resistance we all face. When we’re working on minor challenges in short time-horizons, we can quickly reflect and make changes.

With a series of best next steps, we build confidence, competence, and capacity.

Big plays come from practicing small actions

I recall sitting in the stands at Yankee Stadium on a hot August Saturday a lifetime ago, captured by the warmup routine of the legendary shortstop Derek Jeter. He worked with two coaches on the same basic stances, positions, and field drills you can see at any Little League game.

There was nothing sexy about Derek Jeter’s warmup.

No crowd-pleasing diving plays or long throws he’s remembered for. Derek Jeter’s relentless focus on the small, routine problems a shortstop needs to handle prepared him for the big, game-changing plays he built his legacy on.

We can do the same.

What if solving small problems prepares us to solve the big problems?

“How you do anything is how you do everything.” — T. Harv Eker

As we get better at solving problems, we progress to solve bigger, harder problems. If we approach the trivial as an opportunity to develop ourselves (and our team), we prepare to handle more.

As a bonus, we might discover that most gnarly problems are a connected series (go ahead, call it a mess) of minor problems. If we learn to break the complex problems into smaller problems, we already possess the confidence to solve them.

Solving the right problems allows us to deliver value faster and earn the recognition we deserve.

Originally published at




Connects security with the business

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Is leadership given, learned, or even found?

7 Principles of The Future Employee

Why even the best leaders derail

52 minutes to a meaningful career: the role of service according to Martina Crepaz

Dealing With A Difficult Boss: Approach Them As Human Being

CEO outreach project.

[Book/PDF] The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable BY : Patrick Lencioni

The employee empowerment paradox

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


Connects security with the business

More from Medium

Bad Bait. How Binary Thinking Diminishes The Quality of Decision Making

The Journey to ListenForward

Who Cares?

Making the Case for Change

Blonde woman in a knit hap, black jacket, jeans, and white tennis shoes, carries a white bag past the word “CHANGE?” painted in large white sans serif letters on a wall. The sun is coming from behind her (to the left).