Weekly Focus

Marginal Gains and the Power of The Mind!

Solution Focused Business Improvement
This weekend something that many considered impossible was tackled… although the goal was not met, the outcome was considered ‘Glorious Failure!’

For several years, Nike have been planning an audacious attempt on the marathon world record, specially developed shoes, a pancake flat course (The Monza race circuit), pacemakers running in formation to reduce air drag and then swapping every few miles- a car with a large clock just ahead to reduce air drag, drinks given to the runner as opposed to slowing down to pick up himself… and the result:

Elind Kipchoge ran 2 hours and 25 seconds- the current world record being 2 hours and 2 minutes 57 seconds. So, while the time cannot be considered a world record due to the enhancements made, it shows the way that marginal gains can benefit. Cycling teams creating the most aerodynamic of clothing, Dave Brailsford with the British Cycle Team has been a master at marginal gains.

We should never stop finding new learnings and understanding that there is always scope for improvement, in part that is through finding new and improved ways of working- Marginal gains.

This applies across industry, car manufacturers finding new and improved efficiency, as performance improves, it boils down to marginal gains, but 4 marginal gains of 0.5% creates a 2% improvement!
Within teams we may not get our lowest decile of performers to the top deciles… But we can gradually improve performance in a sustainable way…a decile at a time.

Once we see improvements being made and then understand what can be achieved, the importance of self-belief and the power of our own self-talk becomes so important.

In 1954 Sir Roger Bannister became the first man to run a sub four minute mile. Once he showed what was possible, the floodgates opened with many more athletes then doing similar- It could be done!

We now have a man that has ran a marathon in 2 hours and 25 seconds, albeit with favorable circumstances… marginal gains… but will this now show the world what might be possible… who knows. Two things will always be needed. ‘Self-belief’ and Marginal Gains.