When you’re looking to improve what you do, the temptation is to go for far-reaching change, massive innovation, that kind of thing.

It’s far better in the long run to look for the small efficiencies, and to look for them all the time.

When you visit the R&D facilities of a Formula 1 racing team, you see people striving to shave thousands of seconds off racing times with the most miniscule adjustment to things like aerodynamics. A few thousandths of a second is a few metres at top speed. A bunch of a few thousandths of a second is a commanding advantage.

Compare the touch-typing keyboardist with the one who has learned their own way, maybe using half their available digits and crossing hands across the workspace as they type. Imagine over a working life the enormous time savings formed from the collection of a vast number of infinitesimally smaller micro-movements by typing properly. Could you retire a year earlier if you were more productive over a 3-decade career in front of a computer, in a business where your productivity correlated to your profitability? Probably.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t look to change the game, out-think the competition, or disrupt the business model. Not at all. But you need to do it against a background of continuous improvement. The little things add up to much more than constantly battling the big things.

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