Operations Update: Marginal Gains and the One Percent

How could making a change, even by just one percent, improve your business? Check out this awesome cycling story to find out. Plus, nominate your team members for Reunion awards by February 26. 

Today, I want to tell you a story about cycling. A man named Dave Brailsford was nominated to be a general manager and performance director for Team Sky, a professional cycling team in Great Britain. The task was going to be tough, as no British cyclist ever won the Tour de France. His philosophy of building a winning team was through the aggregation of marginal gains, or in his words, “the one percent margin for improvement in everything you do.”

He started improving the most obvious areas of the cycling team: his athletes' nutrition, training resources, practicing, equipment, etc. However, he didn't stop there. They looked for that small, one percent improvement in every potential area that would affect their cyclists' performance in the competition.

He went so far as selecting the best pillow for his athletes so they would get the best sleep possible! He looked for the most effective way to wash your hands to reduce his cyclists' risk of getting an infection. His goal was to win in five years. They won it in three.

He went on to coach the British Olympic cycling team and dominated the competition, winning 70 percent of gold medals available. Below is the graph of aggregation of marginal gains that shows how one percent improvement or decline can affect your business through time. (Source: James Clear)

So, what if we improve by one percent on some of our main KPIs? What if we improve every single line of our business by one percent?

Just like this cycling example, small changes can make a huge difference in your business, and most importantly in your profitability. Every marginal gain goes directly to the bottom line. The effect can be even greater if we don’t leave any rocks un-turned and improve by one percent in every possible aspect of the business. This could mean a decrease in equipment repairs spend by one percent, or an increase of 'thank you' cards sent to customers by one percent. Let’s continue to improve your business on every line item, one percent at a time. Aggregation of these marginal gains will make a substantial and profitable difference in your business overall!

Submit Your Reunion Nominations by February 26

It's that time of the year! Reunion will be here before we know it. This great event is all about celebrating and acknowledging the hard work that you and your teams put in every day. Please help us to award the "best of the best" by submitting nominations for these award categories:

  • Office Professional of the Year
  • Service Professional of the Year
  • Sales Professional of the Year

To nominate someone, please create a write up explaining why she/he should win the award and submit it to your Franchise Business Coach no later than Wednesday, February 26. We look forward to hearing your awesome stories and celebrating your employees who "make it happen" each and every day!



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