Leaders Improve Using The Aggregation of Marginal Gains

No British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France until 2010. David Brailsford was asked to change all that.

Dave’s ambitious plan for British cycling was for a Brit to win the Tour de France in five years by optimizing every aspect of performance. Everyone thought it was a pipe dream, but it became a reality. After 2.5 years, Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France in 2012. Then Chris Fromme won the Tour de France in 2013, 2015, 2016, and again in 2017. The British cycling team, also coached by Dave Brailsford, won 70% of gold medals in cycling at the 2012 London Olympics.

The British cycling team then went on to win 65% of gold medals at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Winning Looked Easy But Sustained Effort Was The Everyday Constant

Inch By Inch – It’s All a Cinch ( Thank you, Dr. Suess)

The whole principle comes from the idea that if you break down everything that goes into a specific action, such as riding a bike, and then improve every aspect by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you work it all together. Leaders improve one action at a time.

For instance, the British cycling team improved the nutrition of their riders. They modified the weekly training program. Bike seat ergonomics were improved. They reduced tire weight and found pillows that offered the best sleep. Cyclists slapped on the most effective massage lotions and gels. Surprisingly, these adults learned, or relearned, how to best to wash hands to avoid infection and sickness.

It is basic mathematics: if you improve by one percent each day for an entire year, those compounded gains will make you 37 times better at the end of the year!

Seinfeld Strategy

Start looking for a 1% improvement in everything you do.

The Seinfeld Strategy philosophy comes from Jerry Seinfeld, who was speaking at a comedy club many years ago. Software developer Brad Isaac, who was then an amateur comedian, said to him, “I am a huge fan of yours. Do you have any tips for a young comic? Do you have any recommendations on how to be better?” Seinfeld thought for a second and then told him the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes, and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.

“Get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step is to get a significant red magic marker. He said to put a big red X over each day of writing jokes.” Seinfeld continues, “After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it, and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is not to break the chain.”

What will your one percent action look like today?