I’m in Cologne Germany this week for Pirate Summit
, an innovative approach to a start-up tech conference. So far, so good. The crowd is chill and there’s a really great vibe. I’ll be doing a talk on ‘How to Lead Your Business’ tomorrow thought I’d share with your my thinking.
When new companies start-off there is a lot to think about, you are literally working to exist. Stakes are high, stress mounts, and the focus is mainly on product and customer acquisition. Things like processes, hiring, policies, leadership, get pushed aside until they grow to a point that they no longer can be ignored. This mounting pile of 'debt’ becomes harder and more expensive to fix the longer it’s not tackled.
What I want to get across in my talk is the concept of 'Marginal Gains’ made famous by the GB’s Olympic Cycling coach Sir Dave Brailsford. He was able to shift the mindset within his team by getting them to improve everything they did by 1%. From nutrition, to training, to even sleep, Brailsford got his team to think about every little detail that made them perform better and find ways to get incrementally better at it.
Having had the benefit of working in both corporates, start-ups and scale-ups, I realise how much the company’s strategy drives the behaviours and attitudes internally. These mindsets essentially form your culture which is why cultures can’t be 'copied’ and is challenging to change. Brailsford did a fantastic job by getting the whole team to approach the 'marginal gains’ philosophy and successfully changed the team’s 'culture’.
In any business we can easily focus on what we think has most impact and brush aside the less important details but it is the winners that make sure that all things matter.