In this blog, we go over the following:
Aggregation of Marginal Gains Theory
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Great Britain’s Cycling team dominated and took home seven gold medals. Before this, there was no trace of success for the British Cycling team. The one person that changed it all was Sir Dave Brailsford, formerly served as the performance director of British Cycling and is currently general manager of UCI WorldTeam Ineos Grenadiers.
Coach Brailsford’s tactic was to identify areas where you can make small gains. That in turn, will all add up to something much greater. He broke down everything that went into riding a bike from rubbing alcohol on the tires for a better grip to determining which pillow and mattress led to the best rest for riders. With these and an endless list of other small improvements combined, the outcome rapidly escalated and shocked everyone.
Apply Marginal Gains to Business
What’s even more exciting is that businesses can use the same marginal formula to dramatic effect. Any small improvement in efficiency can make a difference to your business' end profit and the long-term success of your company. So, as a business owner, you're constantly on the lookout for a chance to make a change that helps the business to function more effectively. Imagine breaking down everything you can think of that goes into running your business. Being able to improve each area however small, and seeing a big boost in performance when put back together. This leads to businesses having improved in productivity, reduced costs, and even helped increase revenue.
The aggregation of marginal gains is a key concept in James Clear's Atomic Habits. Imagine having your own marginal gains coach and helping you look at your business differently. They should provide you with the guidance, knowledge, and tools to identify and implement the improvements or make a difference to your business’s performance. Make sure to answer the following questions:
What is working for your business?
What is not working for your business?
If something is working well in the business, do more of it. When something is not working, do less of it. This is where you can find the marginal gains. Whatever data you can collect, test it and get feedback. These are details that can be easy to overlook but super powerful.
Dismissing small changes is easy because they truly don’t seem meaningful in the big picture. How will skipping one $5 purchase matter? So what if I spend a few less cents on heating today? But they are meaningful. They are an action. And taking one action is required before you can take a second, and a third. If you can’t make a small change you won’t make a large one.
In life, that’s what separates us from our old selves so we can actualize our potential. A number of small changes add up over time to produce real savings. It doesn’t have to be about deprivation (unless you want it to be). Instead, a series of small changes that save or earn money, applied over a period of time, will make a real difference. When we aggregate and compound marginal gains over an extended period of time we get extraordinary gains.