Sir Dave Brailsford became head of British Cycling in 2002. He adopted a fractured program that had only won a single gold medal in its 76-year history. Despite this, Dave decided he wanted British Cycling to take the top place on the Olympic podium one day. However, he also knew that aiming for gold would be too daunting.
As a former professional cycler who holds an MBA, he became fascinated with Kaizen and other process-improvement techniques. Taking this knowledge, he thought about the possibility of applying a theory of marginal gains to cycling. This idea focuses on thinking small, not big, and adopting a philosophy of continuous improvement through the aggregation of marginal gains.
Dave took the chance and then went about breaking down everything they could think of that goes into competing on a bike and improved each element by 1%. They did things like making small improvements to aerodynamics, analyzed the mechanics’ area, hired a surgeon to teach proper hand-washing to avoid illnesses, brought their mattresses and pillows so their athletes could sleep in the same posture every night, and many other similar improvements.
Within two years, Britain’s first-ever professional cycling team won the Tour De France and won four of the five within five years. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the team won seven out of 10 gold medals, and they repeated their success at the London Olympics four years later.
In summary, Dave said, “Forget about perfection; focus on progression and compound the improvements.” A 1% improvement may seem insignificant on its own, but it makes a massive difference over time. Today think about the areas in your life which could use a 1% improvement.
Answer and Journal the Following
Read and meditate on Galatians 6:9.
What area or areas in your life could use a 1% improvement? Pray and ask God for insight.
Meditate / Make It Real:
Determine how you will make minor improvements in those areas and what makes it so important. What is your plan of action?
Share / Show:
Share what you’ve learned with someone else.