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How much is 1% worth?

In 2009 Dave Brailsford took on a major challenge.

He was appointed the General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky. The goal was to get a British cyclist to win the Tour de France within five years.

His strategy was based on the theory which he called “aggregation of marginal gains”. Basically, it is “a 1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do”.

The idea is that small gains would add up to remarkable improvement.

But, it was not just the obvious things like nutrition, training and equipment. His team searched for the 1% improvements in obscure areas others had overlooked or not considered.

These included:

  • The pillow that offered the best sleep
  • The most effective type of massage gel
  • The best ways to wash their hands to avoid infection.

 

They won it in three years.

Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win in 2012. And, Chris Froome followed up with a win a year later.

If you didn’t know, Brailsford coached the British cycling team at the 2012 Olympics who won 70 percent of the gold medals.

Could you use this theory in your business?

Think small, think outside the box and give yourself 3-5 years for the little improvements to add up. Too often we look for the one big thing, rather than the hundred little things.