Marginal Gains

It all adds up? click to listen here

The expression is one that we hear often, but what does it really mean?

In simple terms, it’s simply looking at all of the inputs into any process and then looking at the small areas that can be tweaked and then collectively that can create incremental improvements.

One personal example, I coach a group of athletes. Some dozen are County Athletes, some are knocking on that door and others are GB Masters Athletes. With the collective talent that they have and the hard years of training, the manner that I can try to create further improvements, is in two ways…

  • *      Improved mental mind set
  • *      Marginal gains!
An example…In terms of the latter…I create a training programme that subtly increases the effort over a period of time while allowing the body to accept the additional load placed on it. A subtle tweak that builds up.

Let’s think about sales. If a business needs a 15% increase in margin, then it would be wrong to immediately ramp up sales targets by a similar amount! Instead, a careful review of all costs, with shavings here and there…Together with subtle tweaks to sales targets…And once hit, with careful reviews and that can allow for further adjustment.

The mind is our master. Throw too much at it and we fail…Adjust subtly and with positive reinforcement, will allow for more to be taken on!

The world marathon record and a topic that I have previously written about is a prime example. I once wrote…”Will a sub two hour marathon ever happen…And if so in my lifetime”? I thought not…But I have to question my initial statement…By chipping away and with renewed beliefs…Why not!
Perhaps the question…”How do you eat an elephant?” Provides the solution…In bite sized chunks is the answer.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” 
― Mother Teresa