Massive productivity gains are easier than you think

If someone asked if you could improve by 220 per cent in one year, what would be your answer? Would you think that’s just too difficult?

It may sound like a lot, but I’m going to answer this question for you: you can – by improving just 1 per cent every day!

That’s right – there are about 220 working days a year, so if you commit yourself to getting just 1 per cent better every single day you are at work, you’ll be 220 per cent better at your job in 12 months than you are now. How does that sound? What effect would this improvement have on your bottom line? How about if everyone on your team made a pledge to commit to improving by 1 per cent every day, too?

I call this approach Target 220. It requires a deep desire to get better every day. You don’t have to get 50 per cent better by next week or 78 per cent better by the end of the month. That’s just not going to happen. But 1 per cent better tomorrow? And then again the day after that? And again, and again? That is something you can achieve.

It’s about aiming to be your personal best. If you don’t have something driving you to be your personal best, then chances are you are going to spend more time in mediocrity. But if you are clear about your opportunities, your strategic planning and your use of time and money, you can make the decision that you can be your personal best. You will be able to make 1 per cent improvements each day. You can revolutionise and transform your business and yourself if you have the attitude of doing whatever it takes.

If you think that 1 per cent isn’t much, ask a scientist how important 0.0001 per cent is. Ask a pilot how important one kilometre an hour is. Ask an Olympic athlete what 0.001 of a second means. Tiny increments are the difference between success and failure. If you want to be at the top of your industry at some point, continual 1 per cent improvements will get you there.

Are you just flirting with success or are you going to chase it with all you’ve got? Somebody is going to win this race. Is it going to be you?

Here’s a great exercise that you and your team can complete. Write down five different ways you can improve by 1 per cent each day in the next five days. Tick off each item, each day, as you complete it.

Once you have completed this task, the next exercise is to work out how you plan to maintain this mindset? If you’ve seen this work over five days, why would you let it go?

As you strive for making a 1 per cent improvement every day you will notice that clarity for your business and the way forward is not about dollars and cents, and it’s not about how many clients you have. It’s not about your marketing or your cash flow or your balance sheet or what new products you have coming next month. All this stuff comes later.

Clarity is about the DNA of your business. It’s about what drives you and the people around you. It’s the heart and soul of why you go into the office every day and the promise you make to your customers. It’s an unshakeable confidence about who you are and why you do what you do. The better and deeper the sense of clarity, the higher the level of confidence, and this provides the relentless drive for you and your business to be the best they can be. What makes it happen is the business leader saying: ‘I will’. But if you don’t have confidence, trust and self-discipline you can’t expect others to.

I can give you 95 per cent of what you need, but the mindset of being your personal best is up to you. There’s no such thing as 99 per cent compliance. You’re enrolled or you’re not; you’re serving a purpose or you’re not; you’re maximising your opportunities or you’re not. You’re at your personal best or you’re not.

Don’t drop your bundle to do this stuff – you can’t profit if you are letting down the people you are already serving – but make sure it gets done. Don’t think you are going to reach the promised land tomorrow, but know that you will reach it with confidence, discipline and execution. It will be a bit harder before it gets easier – but when you’re polishing your diamond rather than staring at deadwood, you will know it was all worth it.

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Stefan Kazakis

Stefan Kazakis

Stefan Kazakis is a business strategist, sought-after presenter and speaker and author of the new book, From Deadwood to Diamonds (Major Street Publishing, $29.95). For more information please visit www.stefankazakis.com or email [email protected]

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