It is no secret. SoPro has evolved rapidly by relentlessly harnessing the power of tiny gains.
Improving a percentage point here and half a point there, day in day out, week after week. Taking stock once a year to gaze at a vastly different reflection staring back from the pond.
It’s an amazing concept. Easy to embrace yet explosively potent in its capacity to transform a business.
A true recipe for success.
But surprisingly difficult to execute.
I mean… what are you really going to do? Set aside 30 minutes each day to find something to fix… then go fix it?
The more you think about it, the more it becomes obvious that proactively harnessing the power of tiny gains as a strategic discipline is not a practical option for most businesses.
I’m not even sure it’s possible.
Proactively I mean.
Something else is needed. Something deeper… or higher up… or bigger, a philosophy perhaps. Something embedded in identity of the brand itself.
And that is where I discovered the truth of SoPro’s iteration complex.
I realised this week that I have been subconsciously categorising people for years, placing colleagues, clients, friends and acquaintances into two distinct camps…
Those that I want to interact with more, and those I want to interact with less.
Like it or not I think we all do it to a greater or lesser extent.
I found myself reflecting on the reasons why I feel excited to work with person A while desperately seeking excuses to avoid spending time with person B.
I realised that in most cases the driving differentiator is well represented by the individuals approach to problem solving.
We all face problems, every day. And our approach to these problems says much about our character.
Generally speaking, people either try to fix THEIR problem, or THE problem.
There is a big difference.
You’ll come to meet an abundance of the former. Far fewer of the latter.
I suggest you run fast and far from those in camp A.
Where you are lucky enough to cross paths with those in camp B, do everything in your power to keep these people in your life, take pain to return value and forge lasting personal and professional relationships. For these individuals will enrich your life. Everything around them will flourish
It comes down to caring.
Fixing YOUR problem is ultimately a selfish endeavour. A path to personal gain… solutions tend to be slap dash minimum workarounds, quick fixes that don’t last and won’t help others. Investing minimum effort to personally overcome said hurdle without any notable interest in helping others overcome the same problem. Because… well, why would they?
In stark contrast. Fixing THE problem is a selfless endeavour. Understanding the wider impact of an issue, assessing its roots and solving it comprehensively, for everybody. Sharing the solution and slowly but surely removing the issue from existence, removing barriers and repeatedly improving the lives of those around them without the need for recognition or acknowledgement, simply because… well, why wouldn’t they?
Slowly but surely producing tiny gains.
There it is. Tiny gains… achieved passively, as a by-product of the fixer mentality.
It gets better.
I moved my thoughts onto the SoPro team… I realised I’d be hard pressed to name a single individual in the business that I wouldn’t trust 100% to take the hard road and refuse to walk past a problem without solving it. It’s an amazing revelation and helps me understand why I enjoy working with the team so much.
It also sheds some light on some of the growth and success to date.
We have a business of fixers.
We have engineered it to be that way and now I understand why.
By building the fixer mentality deep into the literal human identity of our business and brand, the natural by-product has been a constant flow of tiny gains.
It also means we’re improving the right stuff. Our tiny gains are never solutions in search of problems, each fix comes directly from the live business issues we encounter.
So forget proactively chasing incremental improvements.
SoPro has leveraged the power of tiny gains simply by finding and empowering fixers.