[This post is a significant update to the original post The Little Things]
Little things count. That’s the rowing lesson I got from reading Tom Peters’ book The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE.
Never heard of Tom Peters?
He has an axe to grind.
But he makes up for all of that because he rows. And he is considered a business mastermind.
Twelve years ago, he read my book Nuts and Bolts Guide to Rigging, and then sent me a signed copy of another one of his books, Re-Imagine.
That was cool. (Might have been a little thing to him, but big to me!!)
About the same time this post popped up in my email browser, This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent and Here’s What Happened. James Clear wrote it.
It was another rowing lesson for me.
Now as far as I know, Clear is not a rower. But he is a weight lifter, and an excellent writer. If you’re interested in speed, and getting faster, I recommend reading that article.
Both Peters and Clear have made me rethink the impact a “little thing” can have, especially in a crazy sport like ours.
Do Little Things Really Matter?
Since I started rowing, I’ve been involved in two races that ended in a dead heat.
Someone figured the odds of a dead heat in rowing to be about 200,000 to 1.
Well, I’m not sure about that, since I’ve seen two of them and I certainly haven’t been to 400,000 races.
What I am sure about is that in those two races the littlest thing made a difference. One percent can make the difference. It can separate you from your competition. And that 1% might be in your:
- Oar length
- Stern pitch
- Foot stretcher placement
- Or all of the above, and others
Where might some speed be buried, hidden, just waiting for you to uncover it? Where do you find 1%?
Austin Kleon writes about how Beatles’ Paul McCartney went about finding his 1%, by actions like moving his microphone (doesn’t sound like much, but he explains why it is a big thing).
At your monthly or morning staff meeting, or phone call/text/get-together, ask each other what are the little things that you are forgetting.
When you think you’ve found something, test it. And test again. And again. (Yes, I’m a testing advocate.)
Then once you’re sure you’ve found it, move on to another thing.
I know, this can be overwhelming. You’ve got bigger things to think about.
Yeah, but sometimes thinking about the 1% can help you with the big picture.