The power of 1% improvement

“Sustaining an effort is the most important thing for any enterprise. The way to be successful is to learn how to do things right, then do them the same way every time.”

Pat Riley, LA Lakers coach 1981 – 1990

The circumstances that brought about this statement were as follows: In the 1985/1986 season, NBA pundits were calling Pat Riley’s LA Lakers the best team in the history of basketball.

However, they crashed out of the playoffs and didn’t even get to play the championship finals.

So, what did Pat Riley do? He devised a plan to make sure his players played to their full potential every night.

A system he called:

The Career Best Effort program or CBE

The system was simple at its core. Riley took a number of key performance indicators that he could accurately measure and track and

challenged each player to improve these stats by just 1%

The basic premise being, if you ask a team of 5 people to each improve 5 areas of their skill set by 1% each, you’ll see a 25% increase overall.

This is the key takeaway for me. Small but consistent improvements can lead to massive change

So how can you apply this to your business?

Well, first I would look for 3-5 key areas that you can measure and track. Then challenge yourself to achieving a career best effort (CBE) in each of those areas.

Remember, you only need to improve it by 1%

The bonus of doing this:

Most people find when they challenge themselves to improve by 1%, they often end up improving by 5% – 6%

Think of what a 15% – 25% improvement could do to your business? It would be huge!

You’ll even find that when you get into the mindset of consistently trying to do everything 1% better than you’ve ever done it before, you’ll find improvement in nearly everything you do, and the overall effect will be astounding.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what happened to the Lakers team when Pat Riley introduced CBE…

The Lakers rolled out CBE in October 1986. Eight months later, they were NBA champions. The following year, Pat Riley led his team to another title as the Lakers became the first team in twenty years to win back-to-back NBA championships.

Let me know your thoughts and what areas of your business you can track and improve.


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