April 25, 2017

Incremental improvement is better than fleeting leaps

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I’m a big believer in making slow and steady process. I know, sounds kinda boring but what I have found is that the incremental solutions (e.g. those that have been methodically conceived and executed) stick. The fleeting leaps where you make huge leaps usually fade away.

The Breaking Records Mentality

Don’t get me wrong. It’s really exciting when you make a major breakthrough or crush an existing record. Those are notable achievements.

The problem with setting your sites on one offs and record runs means that you are pushing the edge pretty hard. That usually leads to highly variable results — something that most companies can’t ship. This variability is what I mean when I say fleeting leaps — achieved once but not reproducible.

By focusing on the incremental, you can get the big leaps but in a sustainable, repeatable way.

Home Runs are Great But

Sure, getting the single or double is not as sexy as the home run but you need to realize that what wins at both Baseball and innovation is the consistent player.

Just ask Billie Beane of [Money Ball] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moneyball) Fame.

Billie used data to compile a team that defied conventual wisdom.

Instead of using the normal stats, like stolen bases, runs batted in, and batting average, he focused on what the data told him. Namely that on-base percentage and slugging percentage are better indicators of offensive success. This fundamentally change the way Billie fielded his team and is a good example of the incremental approach instead of relying on all those home runs!

Ways to Take Action

  1. Be Data Driven: Data hardly ever lies but people’s interpretation of data can and will be skewed. Look at the data in front of you and make informed decisions.

  2. Reward the little things: If you want to instill an incremental approach, then you need to reward it. It’s fine to also reward the huge leaps but don’t leave out the small steps that got you the big leap.

  3. Consistency is king: Consistency rather than huge jumps should be what you strive for. I know, boring, but way more effective than the shotgun approach that most people take to innovation.

  4. Don’t lose site of the goal: Fleeting leaps sometimes get people excited about jumping even farther. Resist the urge to jump farther than you can consistently reproduce.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!