The aggregation of marginal gains!

As a business coach you are continually exploring new ideas and opportunities of innovation within a business, and being able to share and exploit this with business owners is one of the most exciting prospects for me as a business coach.

In all forms of business there are some quite outstanding examples of how imagination can turn into innovation and have a dramatic impact on a businesses fortunes. This is also replicated in sport, and if you have taken time to read the 'what is coaching page', you find some strong comparisons with what a business and sports coach look to achieve.

What has stood out amongst the great sporting achievements over the past decade is the rise of British Cycling. For decades and indeed throughout the history of international cycling we have under achieved, with just the exception of a few individuals who may have finished higher than expected in the sports major events.

The success of Team GB and Team Sky and the team of British riders in the last two Olympic games were down to a shift in attitude towards the sport, and the opportunity to review past mistakes and seek new and innovative ways of creating success. The sport couldn't continue to adopt the past regimes if it wanted the success it desired.

This took a number of years and the whole process from mediocracy to being the leading nation in cycling was very eloquently named 'the aggregation of marginal gains'. The management of team GB including David Brailsford who coined this phrase set out to look at every aspect of how a future GB cycling team could become world beaters. They looked at training regimes, the mental attitude of the athletes, the equipment, finances and resources, training environments, nutrition and many other intricate details of the sport.

Their challenge was to make significant improvements in all areas, and change the fortunes of British Cycling, and of course the rest is history. This wasn't and could never be an overnight change, it required the right kind of coaches, facilities and athletes with the mental capacity to train hard to be part of that winning team, and this very much relates to exactly the role of a business coach, and what we look to inject into a business with the advice we can impart.

My role is perfectly exampled by the successes of British Cycling, and of course the financing of their success is similar to funding opportunities we find for business owners to take advantage of professional business coaching and the funding of growth.

It is common for business owners to see failure in asking for help, but that in essence is exactly what the sport did a number of years ago to create that success. This wasn't failure, it was the recognition that something had to change, they had no choice if they wanted the success that other nations had enjoyed for many decades.

Business coaching is very much about the aggregation of marginal gains. It is looking at every aspect of a business from cash-flow through to staff training, and the personal development of the business athlete, the business owner. The ability for me as a business coach to give an alternative point of view, new fresh ideas and greater insight into the potential of the business is exactly what makes the difference, and creates those all important marginal gains.

Article written by Stuart Allan - Business Coach


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