Do you chase marginal gains in your business?

JJS Manufacturing InsightsThis great article by Matthew Syed in the Times, challenges the current backlash against the marginal gains process. As a business owner I am only too well aware that is precisely what can, and often does, make the difference.

Big 'wins' are rare when you are dealing with well defined and long established processes, but if you can motivate your teams to constantly look for those little improvements, you will be amazed at how much you can gain over the medium and long term.

In my opinion the use of 'open loop' systems to encourage and foster feedback from your staff is imperative for any business if it wants to thrive in today's global economy.

“Innovation is about testing your assumptions, and having the intellectual honesty to adapt in the light of what the data tells you,” Dan Cobley, the former managing director of Google in the UK, told me. “Google is always on the lookout for these ‘marginal gains’.”

The term “marginal gains” has come in for a battering. Sir Bradley Wiggins said on Sunday that it was a “load of rubbish”. The phrase was coined by Sir Dave Brailsford, the head of Team Sky and architect behind the success of British Cycling, as a catchy way of saying that it is important to isolate performance factors if you are going to improve them.

Written by Chris Johnson

Chris is a business consultant with an extensive career spanning over 30 years. During this time Chris has set up, led, and acquired highly successful component distribution and EMS companies including Paragon Electronics and JJS Manufacturing. A committed 'petrol head' with a passion for speed, Chris raced for over 20 years in a variety of motor racing classes including Formula Ford, Caterham’s and historic sports cars. Today whilst still enjoying the occasional track day Chris spends his spare time playing golf, sailing, mountain biking and supporting Junior Rugby. Chris is a qualified RYA dinghy instructor, Rugby Coach, referee and former School Governor.