One of the executives I am coaching in Russia has recently helped set up a new department on Sustainable Development. This is a new area for him (his background is commercial) and also for the chemical company for which he works. Consequently there are many different ideas from many people in the company about the types of ‘sustainable development’ projects this new but small group should be tackling.

We were discussing the processes of selection between so many different sorts of ideas, some of which could take years, the factors involved and the skills needed, especially when you are not an expert in every area. But we also discussed the need for ‘quick wins’ to establish the new team and department (and my client!) within the company.

So how to identify quick wins?

This is the list of criteria we developed:

  • Quick, can be rapidly implemented
  • Win, an issue that allows you to move forward, a small step to the general overall goal
  • Well defined, narrow in scope
  • Known root cause, obvious solution
  • It is worth doing, it makes sense, positive value
  • No or low risk
  • High confidence of a positive impact
  • The immediate team has the authority to implement the changes
  • Easy to implement
  • Understand what you need to do, nobody else needed or you know whom you need to ask for help/more information
  • Inexpensive, minimal or no capital expenditure
  • Stakeholders will buy-in, own management will be positive!
  • Visible to the wider organisation


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