The Aggregation of Marginal Gains – The difference between first and second.
The philosophy of marginal gains – a method of achieving high performance through “the aggregation of incremental improvements.”
In the world of elite sport, the phrase ‘marginal gains’ has become commonplace.
It’s a world where the difference between first and second, winning and losing, medaling and being fourth is miniscule and as a result it’s a world where every effort, and considerable investment is made into finding ways to get the edge on the opposition. The consequences of not evolving and improving means that you quickly get left behind.
Astonishingly, racehorse conditioners and their connections have yet to recognize, let alone embrace how crucial the 1% marginal gains philosophy actually is to advance the performance of the equine athlete.
So often we convince ourselves that change is only meaningful if there is some large, visible outcome associated with it.
Meanwhile, 1 percent improvements aren’t notable (and sometimes not even noticeable). But they can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run. And this pattern works the same way in reverse. (An aggregation of marginal losses, in other words.) If you find yourself stuck with substandard results, it’s usually not because something happened overnight. It’s the sum of many small choices— a 1 percent decline here and there—that eventually leads to a falloff in competitiveness while your rivals wise to marginal gains reap the rewards.
Small advantages, tiny improvements as a result of marginal gains 1% decision-making can collectively add up to a decisive winning margin.
We must always be looking for the best way of doing things, even if it’s not the way we’re used to. We need to be humble about not knowing what we don’t know and being receptive to new ways.
Seek to improve everything by 1%. All too often we look for the big impact changes, the killer feature that will make a massive improvement. But it’s usually through small step changes, through these 1% marginal gains that significant improvements are most effectively made. A 1% gain is usually obtainable, it’s usually feasible and its usually low risk. Get enough of them and all those ‘marginal gains’ soon add up to very significant gains.