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Leadership Nudge® 331 – Chunk Bigger for Purpose, Smaller for Progress

Break large and overwhelming projects into smaller chunks to keep moving forward. But, when struggling to see your work’s purpose, try bigger chunks. Chunk big for purpose. Chunk small for progress.


One of the things that’s really cool about humans is that because of language, we can coordinate the activities of thousands of people to achieve huge goals, like putting a person on the moon or inventing a new drug.

We take some big task and we break it up into smaller chunks and we break those chunks into smaller chunks, we break those chunks into even smaller tasks, bite sized tasks that we can accomplish. And we’re in the middle somewhere.

Now, if our work starts to feel without purpose – “Why are we doing it?” or “It’s just a churn” – then what you want to do is chunk bigger. Because then you want to connect to, “What are we really trying to achieve?”  On the other hand, if your work has the sense of being overwhelming – “it’s too big” or “I can’t get my hands around it” – then you want to chunk smaller and focus on little parts of the tasks. 

So we chunk bigger for purpose, and we chunk smaller for progress. That’s how you think about your work. I’m David Marquet, that’s your Leadership Nudge.



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