Small changes usually produce great result. It is when seconds change to minutes consistently that hours are produced, when hours change to days, weeks are produced, when weeks change to months, years are produced, when years change to decades, centuries are produced, when centuries change consistently, the result is a millennium. At the base of great results are not necessarily great but little changes. So, to record great results, make small but consistent changes.
The butterfly effect
In Chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the term used to explain the situation in which a slight change in an element ignites a huge effect in another element in a deterministic nonlinear system. Proponent of the theory, Edward Lorenz, explained that this is usually possible because of sensitive dependency of the elements on one another. According to him, the flapping of the wings by a butterfly, which is nothing but a minor disturbance, can trigger a hurricane several weeks later. The point of the butterfly effect is that the results of little changes are usually mind-blowing.
Here are some little changes that can produce great results.
Change your thinking a little
A new thinking precedes a new result. This is because it is the thinking process that determines the action taken; and the action taken determines the result produced. Therefore, when the thinking changes, the result will also change. A company is only as prosperous as the level of thinking it engages in. Great companies invest so much in thinking that they are always ahead of competition. They have think tank teams whose business is to engage the intellect in solving immediate, emerging and long term problems. Because these companies have invested a fortune in getting the thinking right, they are always innovative; they are always a step or two ahead of competitors. That is why they are better than the rest. The strength of Apple Inc. is the amount of resources it has committed into thinking. Coca Cola Company has been profitable for over a century because it has invested a lot in thinking. Companies that invest a lot in thinking are ready before the trend changes and are able to stay afloat while others are sinking.
Albert Einstein, one of the brightest minds that ever lived, said no problem can be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it. The import of this is that since every situation is a reflection of the thinking that produced it, changing the situation will not happen until the thinking that produced it has changed. Better results are produced when the thinking is elevated; improved results are guaranteed when the thinking gets better. Therefore, leaders must devise means of elevating their thinking so that they can have better results.
When St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city after Moscow, was being laid out in the eighteenth century, the officials in charge had a challenge with removing heavy boulders which a glacier from Finland had brought to the city. There was a particular huge rock which covered the path on one of the principal routes that had been planned. The officials asked contractors to submit bids for its removal. The amount demanded by contractors to remove the boulder was prohibitive. While the officials were contemplating on which of the bids to approve, a peasant approached them with a lower bid. Initially, the officials thought he was a joker but one of them said there was no harm in giving the peasant a trial since his own bid was the lowest. So, the peasant was asked to go ahead with removing the rock.
The following day, he appeared on the scene with other peasants who were holding shovels. They dug a hole close to the rock. When it was wide and deep enough to cover the rock, they used timber props to roll the rock into the hole, covered it with dirt and moved away the remaining dirt.
The peasant was able to get result where established contractors failed because he thought differently about the problem. While others were engrossed with moving the boulder away from its location, he devised a means of burying it close to its location.
When the thinking changes, result changes.
Change your attitude a little
Attitude is everything. Attitude determines behaviour and behaviour determines performance. An improved attitude will result in improved behaviour. When the behaviour gets better, it will impact positively on performance. So, to get a better result, make a positive attitudinal change.
In his book, Success Principles: How to get from where you are to where you want to be, Jack Canfield, says outcomes are not determined by what has happened but what is done with what has happened. This explains why two different organizations facing similar situations have different results. The reason is that they handle the same situation differently, so their results cannot be the same. This has to do with the kind of attitude displayed by each of them.
Canfield gives a formula, E+R=O, where E is event, R is response and O is outcome. He explains that while E is constant, R is a function of the attitude of the person or the organization. So, it is attitude, more than anything else, which determines the outcome. So, to scale up your result, improve your organizational attitude a little.
Be a little more disciplined
Haroldson Lafayette Hunt, American billionaire and oil magnate who died in 1974, gave a recipe for success. According to him, success is achieved when you determine what you want, find out the price you have to pay to achieve what you want and you resolve to pay the price. With that, success should be within the reach of everyone. But the reality is that many people and organization do not achieve success because of what Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton refer to as knowing-doing gap in their book The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action. According to the authors, for many individuals and organizations there is always a gap between what they know to be essential for their success and what they do. Their success rate is therefore determined by how much of what they know that they do.
The knowing-doing gap is usually bridged by discipline. Discipline is stopping at nothing to do what has to be done to achieve a desired end. It is indiscipline that stands as the bulwark between aspiration and its actualization. Pfeffer and Sutton identified five mindsets that rob organizations of the discipline to do what is right. These are; thinking that knowing is sufficient for success, thinking that talking (meetings, committees, reports, etc.) is action, thinking that measuring things is action or contributes to performance, thinking that making a decision is the same as taking action and thinking that planning is the same as action.
According to John Maxwell, the greatest gap in the world is that between what is known and what is done. Knowledge that does not produce action serves no meaningful purpose. When you are disciplined enough to activate your knowledge, you give your life a lift and scale up your result.
Increase your knowledge a little
Leaders are always called upon to proffer solutions to difficult situations. This then means that they are expected to know more than the people they lead. But if a leader is consistently as blank over a situation as the people he leads, he is saying is not any better than they are and the respect his reports have for him will ebb. If a leader puts a cap on his knowledge, he has put a lid on the height attainable by his organization. Therefore, it is incumbent on the leader to upscale his knowledge so that he will consistently be a problem solver.
When a leader acquires new knowledge, he will become innovative and this will endear his organization to the customers. Nothing wows customers more than innovative ways of addressing their challenges. So, when a leader is unrepentantly committed to learning, he is positioning his organization for a never-before-experienced height of success.
Tweak your strategy a little
Strategy is always a work in progress; it has to be tuned and fine-tuned all the time until it gets the desired result. Great organizations are never satisfied with a strategy, they keep working on their strategies to get the best. The reason is that human societies are dynamic; they keep changing. Every change in the society will require another look at the strategy deployed by a company because an outdated strategy cannot meet current demand. Not deploying the right strategy can result in customers’ dissatisfaction. When customers are dissatisfied, the effect on the bottom line will not be satisfactory.
No company can afford to have its customers dissatisfied. According to Peter Drucker, a business exists to create customers. Businesses create customers when they consistently meet and surpass current customers’ expectations. The best way to keep surpassing customers’ expectations is to consistently improve on the strategy deployed. No great company waits until it becomes obvious that a strategy is failing before it starts thinking of changing it.
When little changes are made consistently great results are inevitably recorded.