Marginal Gain Theory

Posted on August 31, 2023 in: Decorative, Newsletter

Rich Cofoid, DCC Council Director The Voice Newsletter August 2023

Are you familiar with something called the Marginal Gain Theory? It has been famously used by the British cycling team who, since its implementation, have earned a 1st and 2nd place in the Tour de France and over 32 Olympic metals since 2008. What it entails is simply focusing on tiny improvements, which accumulate over time resulting in very large gains.

The Brits looked for any way they could make a 1% improvement in any and all aspects of their sport. The athletes focused on fitness, nutrition, race tactics, even sleep, and on the equipment side, maintenance, cleanliness of the trailers and tools, etc. were the focus. Individually and alone, these little improvements would make little to no difference, but combined turned perennial losers into winners.

Because marginal gains only require marginal efforts and commitments, they are easy to begin and stick with. Think of all the tiny improvements you could make starting now with both your business and your personal lives, which could literally change your world for the better.

For most, it would be easier to list some personal improvements we could make. For example, Nutrition: cut out one bad food we eat, or sub one vegetarian meal a week, or grab a water instead of a soda. Fitness: take the stairs whenever possible or walk one evening a week after dinner. Financial: cut out one Starbucks a week and put the $25 per month in an investment account, etc.

But how about your business? Think about what small changes you could make that would result in higher revenue, or higher margins, or better employee retention, or a better safety record. Washing your trucks and trailers weekly puts a more professional face on your business. Cleaning all tools after every job and before stowing them away will result in longer tool life resulting in cutting your expenses. Organizing your trailers and warehouses so everything has its place AND ends up in that place every night reduces wasting time hunting for stuff every morning.

I challenge you to come up with marginal ways to improve employee retention, increase lead generation, increase your closing ratio on sales calls, reduce operational expenses, etc. The beauty of Marginal Gain Theory is no aspect is too insignificant to consider and no change is ever so radical that it becomes difficult to implement.

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