You can’t do everything you want to do right now. The constraints are too great. You don’t have enough time. You likely don’t have enough money. And it’s almost certain you don’t have enough energy. As much as you want to make the leap from good to great, that gap is too large for you to make it across with one massive step. Fortunately, you don’t need to.
The great power of incrementalism is that over time you move from you current state to your desired future state. And you do so with greater certainty and more sticking power.
Let’s say you want to improve your sales skills (or those of your team). There is no single change that you can make that will move you (or your team) from the current state to your desired future state. So you pick one area where making a difference in your mindset, skill set, and tool kits will make a difference, and you focus all of your efforts there.
Let’s say you need to be more consultative, and you focus on really creating value during the discovery stage of your process, because that’s where much of the real value is recognized by your prospects. You create a buyer persona to help better understand your client’s real needs. You make a list of questions that help you to create value for them around these needs. You even pull out three insights that you can share that can help your dream client acquire a new vision of what is possible.
Implementing these tools and ideas will move you forward, even if it doesn’t take you as far as you need to go to. But you have started to build the bridge that moves you from good to great. Now you can add more boards to the bridge as you make your way across. Maybe next you’ll tackle designing greater value-creating solutions, presenting, or capturing value.
Incrementalism is the process of constant, and never-ending improvement. It takes time to make changes that last. It takes even more time, and sometimes more money and more energy, to make radical progress. But incremental changes become habits. They become competencies. Most of all, they build the platform for higher performance in the future.
What small changes do you need to make right now that, if consistently taken, would help you build a platform for even greater improvement in the future? What incremental changes can you make now that will allow you to make additional incremental changes in the future that will combine to be more than the sum of their parts?
If you were to write your personal improvement plan in some area of your life, what would the milestones look like at the 90, 180, 270, and 360 days look like. Make the list of those changes and the milestones.