Many years ago when asked what the most powerful force in the universe was, Albert Einstein said, “compound interest.” What I am writing about today, might be, with all due respect to Albert, just as powerful. The reason is that it in many ways they are the same thing: compound interest allows your money to grow on itself, and Incremental improvement allows your skills and productivity to grow on themselves.
In short, if you want to improve your skills, your best approach is get a little bit better everyday. You can’t make quantum leap improvements each day (there are certainly situations where a new idea, technique or approach may in a short time drastically improve your skills or abilities, but you can’t rely on these occurring regularly.) If you want to get 10% better at a particular leadership skill in the next 30 days, that might seem daunting. But can you get 1% better every day for a month? That seems easier and more realistic. We can all get 1% better each day.
So let’s do the math. We’ll just use the working days and assume 20 working days in the next thirty (even though there are plenty of ways to work on leadership development everyday). At the end of our 30 days we will have improved by: 20.81%. This is certainly a powerful concept for us personally and should cause you to be excited and ready to start learning, but this is just the start.
The power of incremental improvement is perhaps the most when considered as an organizational leadership development idea. Ask yourself this question: what would happen to productivity, profitability, and results overall if everyone on my team improved by 1% each day. Now you don’t have one person improving 20.81% in a month, but EVERYone improving by that amount.
And this is just month one.
Want a strategic leadership initiative? Build a process, tools and expectations to help everyone in your organization work on a single skill each month, with the goal of getting 1% better each day. Then, move to another skill next month.
That is why I believe Remarkable Leaders are Continual Learners (one of the chapters from my book Remarkable Leadership – Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time), and that idea is the crux of our “one skill at a time, one month at a time” model for the Remarkable Leadership Learning System.
I will write more on this topic in the coming days, but for now, I’ll leave you with this question:
What do I want to get 1% better at today, and how will I do it?