“If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.” – James Clear. This sums up the power of continuous or incremental improvement. If you just make a small improvement every day it really adds up. Clear has written a number of articles on continuous improvement and most recently a post on his blog.
In November 2015 I wrote on this and gave credit to Clarence W. Barron for first using this phrase, Everything Can Be Improved. At that time I did not know about Clear’s writing on the subject. Making big improvements is exciting and gets lots of attention. However, making big improvements takes lots of time and energy (and sometimes money) and cannot be sustained. Making small but continuous improvements however is much more achievable. It can be done every day at minimum cost.
Another advantage to continuous improvement is that it is less disruptive than big changes. Sometimes a big change is a great idea, sometimes it is essential. But on a daily basis incremental improvements are less costly and add up to significant improvement over time.
Clear suggests these tools to improve incrementally:
- Do more of what already works
- Avoid tiny losses
- Measure backwards
I would add another step to this. Keep track of your small improvements. I keep a list on my computer of the incremental improvement projects that I implement each day, each week and each month. If you do not keep track of them you can lose sight of them and fail to follow through.
Incremental improvements begin with full acceptance of the concept that in fact everything can be improved. Once you adopt that mindset you can find ways to improve everything you do, both personally and in an organization, day by day. Following Clear’s formula this can realize an overall improvement of 37.78% per year if you assume a 1% improvement each day. It adds up.
Adopt the mindset that everything can be improved and then resolve and plan to make tiny improvements each day.
Read all of Clear’s article here.
What can you improve on today?Wishing you well,
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.