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How 1% Marginal Gains Can Make A Massive Improvement In Profits

1% Marginal Gains

I listened to a recording recently of Sir David Brailsford. He was the man responsible for Team GB cycling in the 2012 Olympics and then he moved on to the Sky Racing team.  


He had a philosophy of 1% marginal gains.  


It’s well documented that for Team GB, he would bring in all sorts of people, not just coaches, trainers and people with cycling ability, but also psychologists, mind coaches, and nutritionists. 


They challenged pretty much every norm!  They would:- 


  • Take their own mattresses 
  • Their own pillows.  
  • They would be taught how to wash their hands so they didn’t get ill 
  • Question what they eat 
  • How they trained 
  • The cycling kit they used 


This was all about getting a 1% marginal gain across a wide number of areas and added together these 1% gains made a massive difference to performance….the result was we pretty much swept up all the cycling gold medals at the 2012 Olympics.


In the podcast he was speaking about how the top of the mountain seemed so far away  – In business this is how us as owners can feel about success!


It can feel like we’re never going to get there….


He was talking about that culture of continuous improvement, differentiating yourself, having the dream …..”This is what I would like to happen. ……” 


For Sir David Brailsford…that was Olympic medals or winning the Tour de France.  


For business owners, it might be…. 

  • Taking a certain amount of money out of the business 
  • That dream house 
  • Putting children through private school 
  • Having more time to spend with loved ones 
  • Fantastic dream holiday getaways 

Whatever it is we need then to make that dream a reality, by creating a target and making it happen.  

You’ll hear business gurus talk about there’s no i in team. But Sir David Brailsford, had quite an interesting philosophy, he didn’t buy into that. 

He said whether we like it or not, we’re all subconsciously making that calculation of what’s in it for me.  

So what he did was he tried to figure out what was in it for the individual team members and then tried to align everybody because if you can get everybody aligned then you’re in business, regardless of whether they get on or not.  


You need to give people as much ownership as possible. In the current climate, we know 

  • It’s more challenging out there 
  • We know it’s harder to attract new “A grade” team members,  
  • So, it’s about trusting in your people 
  • People like to have an influence over what they do and how they do it.  

The people that are really successful are the proactive doers. 

If you think about business owners that are super successful 

  • They don’t hang about  
  • They get stuff done,  
  • They make decisions, whether that decision’s right or wrong, they make it because they can always change track.  

If you implement those incremental gains and keep aggregating them, then you are going to get better and get to where you want to be. 


There are so many parallels in business about just keep making those changes. So whether it’s a… 

 1% price increase,  

1% increase in the number of leads 

1% increase in the number of leads closed 

1% efficiency, saving  

1% increase in turnover  

1% increase in profit  

1% reduction in cost 

Over time it aggregates and makes a massive impact that will move your business forward 

Just think about what you can control in your business and implementing those 1% marginal gains.








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