Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Leadership by Inches, Seconds, and Degrees

This time of year is one of my favorites. For three weeks I am up before the sun to watch the Tour de France live. I even had the extreme luck to be in Paris in 1997 for the final stage of the tour. What a great party that was! What never ceases to amaze me is that even over almost 3 weeks of racing the leader of the race is often determined in more cases than not by seconds.
I started thinking more about this subject. Often the difference between winning and losing is the smallest of fractions. One degree difference turns hot water into boiling water. But how many times have I told myself that a little extra effort probably won’t be worth it, or noticeable, or matter in the end? Yet what really makes a champion a champion is that they consistently make that extra effort, and yes in the end, it does make a difference, even if it is just one degree, one second, or one centimeter.
I think this applies to business as well. I really loved Tony Hsieh’s book “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose ”. He had one key element for himself and all his employees. Make yourself 1% better each day. I was struck by the simplicity of this and that once again that continual small extra effort is what really leads one to stand out from the rest of the crowd. So I have decided that I don’t have to take on everything at 110%, I really just need to be consistent with that 1% change. In the end it will set me apart from the pack.

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