The 1% factor, the power of “marginal gains.”
I love cycling; I recognize it is my weakness, I competed in the transition from child to teenager; I use my bike every day as a means of transportation and I practice the sport more intensely on weekend outings.
More than a sport, in my case, it is a philosophy of life, my father instilled in me this passion, and my personality would not be the same if I had not practiced this sport.
Values such as the ability to sacrifice, the value of effort, and the ability to fight and resist any adversity are part of my DNA. I certainly always think that I would not be the same if I had not practiced this sport.
At the same time, it helps me to achieve my professional objectives, since I parallel my sports goals with milestones that I am setting in my company. I recommend it; it works!
Why do I ride a bike?
You may have heard a thousand benefits of cycling for your health, but here I summarize my three primary motivations:
1) FREEDOM: I recommend that you practice it every day; pedaling in places gives me a great sense of freedom, gives me a different perspective on life.
2) HEALTH: I feel extraordinarily healthy and fit; several studies on older adults over 80 who practice cycling explain that they have the same immune system as a 20-year-old boy.
It has been more than proven that this sport prolongs life by more than eight years. It is widespread to cross paths with octogenarians who appear to be twenty years younger.
3) PLANET: Everyone will do their bit, but this is mine, I convinced myself to take the car on very exceptional occasions, my goal is to reduce my carbon footprint to almost zero.
Teachings of Sir Dave Brailsford.
I’ve been following him for some time now, and he’s a very discreet person, you won’t see him stand out much in the management world, he doesn’t make much noise, he’s very discreet. Still, I have to say, without a doubt, that he’s the leader who has inspired me the most in the last five years.
Sir David John Brailsford is a British cycling coach. He was the Director of British Cycling Performance and is currently the General Manager of the “Ineos Grenadiers” cycling team.
What he is doing in cycling is more than exceptional. He may have the best team, the best budget, the best technology, but this gentleman has won the tour seven times in a row with four different cyclists.If we talked about soccer, you would have to add up Mourinho and Guardiola’s titles to get closer to what this man has achieved in cycling.
He is a genius of motivation. Try to see some video in which he talks with his cyclists. You will understand in less than a second that he is an extraordinary leader.
He is also known for including innovative concepts in his team’s management, ideas about food, or psychology that he has been incorporating as new disciplines.
In modern cycling, tours are won by minimal differences of seconds or minutes, far from those times of Induráin. He crushed his rivals in the time trial with a few minutes of fright. Not now, apart from having legs, the new cycling is extraordinarily technical and strategic.
Brailsford maintains a culture of continuous improvement focused on the value of adding marginal gains; races are won by tens of seconds. Those seconds are achieved by the sum of the little progress of various elements involved in the process.
“The principle came from the idea that if you break down everything you can think of for cycling and improve it by 1%, you’ll get a significant increase when you add all those changes together.”
It can be adjusting a jersey in a time trial, using a type of grease on the chain that improves pedaling, or buying specific pillows for racing, and all add up, any detail has to be taken into account.
Get a small improvement in each of the processes, and in total, you will get an improvement not great but differential. This is how this gentleman wins the tours de France.
While still having excellent cyclists, Sir Brailsford wins by applying an incremental philosophy, applying a factor of 1%, a factor to the minimum, which in the sum of the aggregate makes the final difference in the finish line.
How do you apply the philosophy of marginal earnings in your business?
Divide and conquer.
It shells, divides, combs, separate your company’s activity very meticulously, until arriving at the micro-tasks, here it is where you have the detail, and here you must think about a micro improvement.
If your company were a bicycle, try to get to the detail of the wheel bearing.
Analyze, evaluate, and think about how you can make small incremental changes that improve your business; perhaps it is a change in your web color or includes the phone number in the signature of the mail.
The idea of the 1% factor lies in making small changes big. In the end, many small changes, generating a differential change, not a significant difference, this methodology is not for big transformations or to mutate. It is a philosophy that puts the focus on small things.
Manage this incremental method as a continuous loop of improvement. If a microtask improves by 1% each month, you will get a cumulative 12% a year.
This improvement is already differential. There has been substantial incremental change and positive. You’ve already reached the goal, but before you have gone through the flying goals.
Perhaps when it comes to setting objectives in companies, we force ourselves to achieve great changes at the end of the year, that 12% we plan to be 30 or 40%, raising a psychological barrier from the beginning, so you can even reach the frustration of the team.
Working with the 1% improvement factor and in very specific micro tasks, you manage to maintain at the same time a motivation that generates value, to reach the big macro objectives, there is nothing better than focusing on achieving the micro objectives.
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