The Difference is 1%

The study of performance begins with the application of efficiency.  All athletes, business men and women, leaders of organizations, and coaches have Deltas to cross.  

Conventional stories on success speak of very lofty goals being the catapult to accomplishment.  Famously Ted Williams told an a reporter that he always wanted to be recognized walking down the street.  Tiger Woods had Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors allegedly taped to the headboard on his bed.  The stories are endless.

Dave Brailsford, a cycling coach put his efforts in a different spot to cross a Delta.

 Dave Brailsford, lead the British cycling team to 10 gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Prior to this, the team had not managed any significant wins.  He made the aggregation of marginal gains famous.

Brailsford believed that victory  would be achieved by focusing on a 1% margin for improvement in everything the team, individual athlete, and staff did.  Brailsford and his team would focus on improving every aspect of performance and these aggregations would add up. 

Hiring surgeons to teach athletes about proper hand-washing to avoid illnesses during competition

Choosing not to shake any hands during the Olympics for the same reason

Implementing precise food preparation procedures

Bringing their our own mattresses and pillows so athletes could sleep in the same posture every night

Painting the floor of their bike trailer white so they could more easily identify dust and remove it

 This meant focusing on optimizing exercise, rest, nutrition, team management, morale, and equipment–not just time spent on the bike.

Brailsford’s application was not founded on setting goals.  Instead he and his team crossed their Delta by setting up a better system.  

Goals, without a system to achieve them, just give a person more to tote around emotionally.  

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