Habits are the compound interest of self improvement

This quote is from the book Atomic Habits which was the March book of the month at the Agency Local Book Club.  

As agency owners and leaders, continuous improvement should be at the center of your business. 

Why? As businesses we need to be constantly adapting to our environment to the external factors that have an impact on our business. We have seen this in real time recently with CoronaVirus, now with Ukraine war leading to high inflation. 

Adaptation is different to continual improvement. I see continuous improvement as being what you do internally within your business 

  • making improvements in how you run your business (efficiency), 
  • how you improve the service you deliver (customer delight), 
  • how you become more purpose led business (sustainability) 
  • how you manage your teams how you develop your culture (creating a great place to work), 
  • how you improve your skills as a business owner (leadership) 

These are just examples of areas of continual improvements that you can make in your business. 

James Clear, in his book, highlights that if you want to change something then you need to make it a habit. Easier said than done right?!

Making small adjustments – consistently delivers big change.
We are all under pressure in business to set clear goals. These are our destinations, it is where we want to be and what we want to achieve. Interestingly, often winners and losers have the same goals! In a sporting analogy if you think athletes have the goal of winning the gold medal, only one person can win it yet the whole field in the final has the same goal.

“Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.”
So it’s not only about the goal, it’s about the journey, it’s about the systems, processes and actions that you put in place to achieve that goal. It all comes down to action and constant action at that. Doing one thing regularly, day after day, week after week, month after month – then you will see improvements over time. 

And for an action to be constant it needs to become a habit. 

“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”
If you look at marginal gain theory – this is all about making small incremental improvements which on their own are unnoticeable however when put together they compound and become significant change. This is the power of habits. 

Clear sites as an example the British cycling teams – which were nowhere in any competition at the turn of the century. 

Brailsford became Performance Director in 2003 and he brought in the concept of small improvements – marginal gain – the 1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do. 

We saw the first British winners of the Tour de France with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome in 2012 and 2013 and Team GB’s went on to win an astounding 32 Olympic medals from Beijing, London and Rio, including 20 golds. 

“You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.”
As an agency owner, where is your business on the path you want it to go? Do you have a clear vision of where you want it to go? Are you seeing improvements in key metrics? Are you developing new habits to create that marginal gain?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions then it may be time to get a coach or a guide that can help you establish a clear direction for your agency, and to decide what are the areas in which you need to form new habits.