Monday, 28 January 2013


This started by seeing goggled eyed Ed Balls demanding a change of plan as part of  the conversations about a “catastrophic” 0.3% decline in national output in the last quarter of 2012 which he rather overdramatizes below.

Blimey! If you are earning the national average of £26,500 this equates to around £80 reduction. Now I don’t know about you but I doubt if that’s a catastrophe for most people although of course they’d prefer to have the money.

So (as one does) I got thinking about Dusty Springfield’s song of 1966 which in truth was a little depressing lyrically but I loved the tune and then Oasis in 2002 – both entitled “Little, by little, by little…” –  Oasis, a different song. And I started thinking about how we respond to and feel about trends.

You see I’ve become incredibly hacked off by constant talk about transformation and strategic breakthrough. As hacked off as hearing someone saying they’ve found an unbeatable way to make money – no risk – 15% guaranteed.

I don’t think growth can be plucked out of the air like that.

I don’t think transformations usually come off. Usually they turn out to be expensive mistakes.

I think it comes…little, by little, by little.

By fixing all the elements in the process.

By doing a lot of small things.

If we all improved our productivity by 0.3% - that catastrophic number - we’d have an extra 6 minutes free time in our day or, looked at differently, that 6 minutes multiplied across the adult population of the UK would amount to an extra 98 years of human resource.

Little, by little, by little becomes a lot … eventually.

AG Laffley who used to run P&G and tripled the share price whilst CEO has just written a book called “Playing to Win”.

In it he advocates refining what you are trying to do very clearly – you cannot talk to everyone, you can’t say much, it has to be something true to your delivery capability and it has to be worth paying attention to. If you’ve got that, place your chips on that and “play to win.”

It’s a story of little by little planning.

The most successful team in the Olympics (the UK cyclists) had a little idea that made a big impact.

Electronically heated hot pants.

Here’s what Victoria Pendleton said:-

 “They heat up almost instantaneously, you feel the temperature on your quads and hamstrings, and it really makes the difference.”

Go through everything you do and see what little things  to reduce, eliminate, increase and improve.

It’ll make a lot of little differences.

All of which add up.

No comments: