Next session of the CEC begins September 12! Sign up today to get notified.
Once there was a man whose wife died. She died because even though the hospital was only a few miles away as the crow flew, it took 75 miles of road to wind around the mountain that stood between their tiny village and the town with the hospital.
Armed with only a chisel, hammer, and crowbar, over the next 22 years, the man carved a road over the mountain that deprive him of his mate. He cut the travel time from his remote village to the nearest hospital to less than an hour’s walk.
One man. Chipping away every day.
Usually in a conversation about cumulative effects we would talk about things like ‘the pebble that starts the landslide ‘, but it will be you moving the pebble. It will be you who directs the landslide. Maybe that feels like too much power, but don’t worry: by moving pebbles you’ll build the skills to control the landslide.
To get the cumulative effect of a landslide, you first have to identify the pebbles. In our solopreneurial businesses, we’re going to call them ‘any improvement that makes a process, system, work flow, or constraint at least 1% faster, easier, or more effective.’
The Fastest Way To Get Results
The cumulative effect rests on results accrued over a long period of time. But you are a busy person. You can’t possibly be expected to invest valuable time and attention to something you don’t know will work. So I won’t ask you to.
I’ll only ask you for 6 weeks.
For six weeks, you’ll get an email every Monday directing you to a particular pile of pebbles somewhere in your business – small enough that the ones you’ll want to move will be obvious to you.
Throughout the week you’ll get encouragement and tips for working on your pebble. There will also be a group, so you can share ideas and inspiration with each other.
Won’t the cumulative effect be too small to see after only 6 weeks?
I don’t think you have to worry. Here’s why:
When I practice these cumulative effect improvements, I find that the pebbles tend to stick together. Whatever actions that moved the first pebble, also move at least a couple of other pebbles along with them. At least part of the way. This means that it’s easier to get these pebbles the rest of the way to their new home – so if you had the extra time and energy, you can go back, scoop them the rest of the way, and pat yourself on the back for a double win. Or, if you’ve got to move on to something else, you can just save them for a day when you need an easy win.
Either way, improvements seem to accrue very quickly with relatively small efforts.
Isn’t something this small just busy work? I need to focus on the big stuff, like my next launch.
It’s easy to think so.. But we aren’t performing a task for the sake of performing a task. We are making an improvement, which has the effect of making some aspect of our business faster, easier, or more effective.
This has the follow-on effect of increasing your capacity so you can get more done. And the pebbles are small, so they don’t overwhelm you with the way that a big project can. You’ll win with moving the table, and the next one, and the next one, and in six weeks, you’ll be amazed how much more effective you are– I promise.
I really don’t have time…
I think we all fall into the trap of believing that we don’t have time to work on our businesses. The truth is, the only way I ever get anything accomplished on a regular basis is by using this tiny improvements strategy. While it’s true that some improvements take a long time to deploy, most take about 15-30 minutes. I’m positive that if you stop to think, you can find dozens of small, fast improvements that will immeasurably improve your business in just 6 weeks.
Plus, it’s free. What have you got to lose by trying?
The Cumulative Effects Challenge starts Monday, September 12.
Join the challenge today.