In cycling and speed skating (and perhaps other sports that I don’t know about) there are events known as team pursuits. The goal is to work together as a team to accomplish the goal, which is to win the race. They hope to obtainâ€”togetherâ€”perfection by leveraging the strengths of team to cover up the inadequacies of the individuals.
You’ll also notice, if you ever watch one of these races, that they are won or lost because of a series of small decisions and having the courage to charge through an opening to take the lead.
While we try to become the best in our businessâ€”while we strive in the pursuit of perfectionâ€”I think we too often forget the little things. We embark on the bold (and big) new initiative. We attempt a â€œmerger of equalsâ€. We want every new product launch to be the next billion-dollar idea. Why do we do this to ourselves?
It’s because we think that big results only come from radical changes:
The problems that plague organizations, or hold them back from greatness, are often small things that happen to be consistently overlooked. The lack of progress or greatness isn’t because there’s a grand idea missing. Instead the cause is a simple idea prevented by bureaucracy, killed out of ignorance, or buried under incompetence. If those simpler, smaller, ideas were set free, the effect would be as potent as any grand theory. Somehow we discount simple ideas for being playthings, for being too small to be worthy, not recognizing the surprising power hidden in what seem to be our smallest decisions.
I also think that when we finally focus on the little changes we can make, we often approach them the wrong way. When addressing a problem, why do we focus on reducing their occurrences by X percent? Why don’t we look at the problem from a perspective of how the issue would be handled in a perfect world? Once we find that perspective, let’s build a solution to meet that.
Those small changes would completely eliminate the problem, right? That’s right, they would.
So, do you pursue perfection? Are you still trying to fix the issues standing in your way with one grand move or are you ready to make the small changes necessary to actually get there?
(Image source: im.mick)