It’s All About The Little Things

Dave Brailsford is currently one of my heroes. Dave is regarded as being largely responsible for both Bradley Wiggins’ success in the Tour De France and the spectacular results of the British cycling team in the Olympics.

Apart from having been a professional cyclist in France for four years before he was 23, he has a degree in Sports Science & Psychology as well as an MBA from Sheffield Business School. He has recently been both the programme and performance director for British cycling and has been involved in the careers of Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton, Mark Cavendish and many others.

What makes his contribution so outstanding is the way success has been achieved.

His philosophy of marginal improvement has revolutionised cycling.

Changing many small things is often a far more successful strategy than one sizeable transformation. The latter approach is far more risky and less likely to succeed.

An example of the philosophy was in Sir Chris Hoy’s last race. All the competitors but one had the same helmet. Hoy’s was a different shape and had been aerodynamically designed to be as streamlined as possible to ensure that every single thousandth of a second was saved. The same applies with his shoes.

Breaking down all your systems and processes into small units, looking at them critically and making small improvements, can have a major impact. Each time one of these processes is improved, it results in something being done more efficiently or quicker. The combined effect of this throughout a business can be dramatic.

As a Chartered Accountant and Consultant at Westbury, Howard Graham has been helping small businesses for the last 30 years. During that time, he has also set up numerous successful businesses including an award winning internet business and a restaurant as well as having an interest in a property company, a farm and a design company. He also is a regular speaker on small business issues as well as writing for the BBC, Microsoft and  Imbibe magazine.

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