Thursday, 17 October 2013

How small changes lead to big success

If you were watching the news over the summer you will have seen that Sky pro-cycling did it again, a second Tour de France win in succession. It was considered an outrageous statement by David Brailsford in 2010 when he announced there would be a British winner within five years. Now in 2013 we have two.

If you believe what you read, this achievement has been based solely on marginal gains – a lot of small changes that add up to a significant change overall. However, if you delve deeper into the framework of this success we can identify a number of factors that have contributed to their winning streak.

1. Having a team with the skills and motivation to succeed
2. Understanding what they wanted to achieve from the start
3. Understanding where they were in 2010
4. Putting  a realistic plan in place to see how they could get from where they were to where they wanted to be

It’s also important to understand the ‘aggregation of marginal gains’. Put simply, how small improvements in a number of different aspects of what we do can have a huge impact on overall performance.

So how does this relate to business? Well surely we can use a similar formula in business to imitate the level of success Team Sky has experienced? If we follow the Sky recipe, what ingredients do businesses need?

1. Business goals
2. To be honest and understand where the business is today
3. To have a plan of action
4. To have the motivation to succeed as well as a commitment to continuously develop skills and knowledge

Remember, never underestimate the power of small positive changes; tiny incremental changes add up and make a large difference to the overall whole.

And this strategy doesn’t just apply to businesses; it’s relevant to all processes and teams that operate within any business. Adopting this simple approach will not necessarily guarantee you the success that Sky had, but it may well put you on the pathway to success.

By Richard Anderson, Senior Consultant, Advisory, TDX Group

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