Think back to a time when your organization made a small change that resulted in a big impact, hopefully in a positive way. I recently had an experience that started me thinking about all the little things that make such significant impact.
Reflect for a moment the role gasoline plays in the amazing impact of combustion. And the reality is, it doesn’t require much gas at all to make that happen. But without it, the reaction wouldn’t occur. Think about small monetary contributions made every month to your retirement account that can accumulate to be a major retirement fund equaling to hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the compounding effect. Or contemplate one tiny pebble thrown into the water that causes a radiating ripple effect that can last for minutes.
Consider now, companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon that began by making small changes in the way they did things in order to change their course and ultimately their momentous impact in today’s market. It’s pretty remarkable when you stop and think about it.
Back to the reason I began thinking more about small changes leading to big impact.
My softball coach recently asked our team to try a different batting stance in order to increase our bat speed and hitting distance. I’m going to be honest, most of us protested on some level because nearly 95% of us have been using the same batting stance for five to twenty five years. When it came my turn to try this new stance it was very uncomfortable and didn’t make sense to me. So I began asking questions and had the coach walk through the process with me with no real luck. After identifying that it wasn’t working well for that practice, the coach simply asked me to watch a video link that showed in more detail the stance and the swing. I agreed to it.
Later that week I watched the video and went through the mechanics of the new stance and what it translated to for my swing. And lo and behold, this new stance actually allowed me to create more torque, which would ultimately impact bat speed and distance the ball could go. After about thirty to fifty swings, the stance was becoming much easier and felt more natural.
The very next time we went out to the field I tried the new stance and my batting average literally went from about 300-400 to approximately 900 over the next 4 games.
I was blown away! Beyond that, I was very grateful that I had been introduced to something new that could make such a dramatic impact on my game. The coach reached out to me a couple of weeks later and congratulated me for my willingness to try what had been asked of me. I was glad that even though I was a little hesitant up front, that eventually I was willing to do something in a new way.
The change – It was simply a minor re-positioning of my hands. That’s what has made all the difference. So now I’m hitting the ball much more consistently and much harder and farther.
Since I work with companies and audiences on a regular basis on how to improve performance, productivity, and profits, I couldn’t help but think about the significance of this example.
So many times it is the small things that make the most significant impacts in organizations.
It’s the one person willing to step up and say something when there is an issue. It’s a team that is willing to put their differences aside for the sake of the project. It’s changing the speed at which a rotor is turning that will improve the efficiency of the assembly line. It’s a leader changing their tone in their communication that results in their team becoming more engaged. It’s the one video added to a safety presentation that will catch a worker’s attention that will ultimately be the difference in saving their life. The list could go on and on and on.
Every employee, every leader, every organization has the opportunity to make small changes. One small change might be that the organization become more responsive to the suggestions and changes that the stakeholders are trying to make. When we consider taking a new stance and are willing to make a change, then and only then, can we get different results. And if we make the right small changes, the impact can far exceed any person’s, any leader’s, or any organization’s expectations.
We can resist or embrace change. I was willing to make the change because I was given an opportunity, an opportunity that could result in a big impact. The only way to really have known was to try. I’m glad I did!