marginal gains

The Aggregation of Marginal Gains

The Aggregation of Marginal Gains

I recently read an article about the British Cycling team and one of the big secrets to their success. From 2003 to 2014, Sir Dave Brailsford was the Performance Director of the British Cycling team. His goal….to improve each aspect of the team by 1%

The British cycling team has dominated in the velodrome at the last 3 Olympics and a Brit has won 4 out of the last 5 Tour de France races.

The secret to their success – “The aggregation of marginal gains”

The approach is about small steps – improving everything you do by 1%. That seems like such a small aim in the grand scheme of elite sports, but this 1% in many different areas can make all the difference. From finding the best pillows to improve sleep, to advice on hand washing to reduce the chance of illness, the team looked everywhere for improvements.

And it paid off – 8 gold medals at Beijing, 8 gold medals in London and 11 medals in Rio, 6 of which were gold.

Sir Brailsford believes it can work outside sport as well. The culture of continual improvement can benefit individuals and organisations. Consider looking at each area of your life and aiming to improve by 1%.  What if you could improve your time management, your communication, your empathy, your leadership, your positive thinking, your goal setting, your attentional control, your commitment, your mental toughness all by 1%? Think about the aggregation of all those marginal gains. What could an organisation achieve with the same approach?

Forget about perfection: focus on progression and compound the improvement”. Sir Dave Brailsford.