You may have heard me talk about the importance of simplicity and refining for growth. But it’s important to note that these drivers have a third companion. Repeat. These principles are not a one-time event, they are an ongoing part of a successful culture. Repetition repetition repetition. It’s important.
Harvey Mackay said, “Learn from the past, but don't live there. Build on what you know so that you don't repeat mistakes. Resolve to learn something new every day. Because every 24 hours, you have the opportunity to have the best day of your company's life.” I love that!
The frustration here is that a lot of leaders think that yesterday's change solution is suitable for today's environment. That is rarely true. Markets are dynamic and innovation so rapid in our digital world.
What we want is an organisation who systems and processes are continually tested, and refined and simplified and that process, repeated regularly. This will give us continuous improvement and a stream of innovation, not only in our products but in the way that we operate as an organisation. That is so important if we are going to increase capacity and grow to our true potential.
If we get this right our capacity for growth increases and when we do that, we release a potential. If we don't do this well, complexity will reign, and this will constrain our people and our growth. It will literally put a cap on our ability to grow.
The principle here is that once is never enough. Things change and so we should repeat our efforts to improve, simplify and refine.
Think about it like this; it is only through repetition that a skill is practised and rehearsed overtime, and gradually becomes easier and second nature. Repetition is an important factor in any learning.
When Sir Dave Brailsford became head of British Cycling in 2002, the team had almost no record of success: British cycling had only won a single gold medal in its 76-year history. That quickly changed under Sir Dave’s leadership. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, his squad won seven out of 10 gold medals available in track cycling, and they matched the achievement at the London Olympics four years later.
Sir Dave then led Britain’s first ever professional cycling team, which won three of four Tour de France events. Sir Dave, a former professional cycler who holds an MBA, applied a theory of marginal gains to cycling — he gambled that if the team broke down everything, they could think of that goes into competing on a bike, and then improved each element by 1%, they would achieve a significant aggregated increase in performance. It worked.
So, if you want to grow, you need to equip your organisation through scrutiny support and simplifying and to simplify you need to test, refine and repeat.