The Aggregation Method Unveiled

Aggregation Method

The Power of Marginal Gains: The Aggregation Method.

Let’s start by diving into an incredibly powerful concept that’s close to my heart—the aggregation method. Have you ever considered how small changes can lead to monumental results? It’s a principle that’s been embraced by leaders and teams across various fields, from sports to business.

Today, I want to share with you a story of transformation, one that beautifully illustrates this concept through the lens of the British Cycling Team.

Imagine a team that went from being relatively unknown to dominating the cycling world, all by changing just 1%.

This is not just any story; it’s the real-life journey of the British Cycling Team. Their success story is a testament to the aggregation of marginal gains, a method where small improvements in several areas can lead to significant enhancements when combined.

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Sir David Brailsford (then British Cycling Team General Manager) faced a tough job.
No British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France, Brailsford as Performance Director for Team Sky (Great Britain’s professional cycling team), was asked to change that.

His approach was simple.

Sir Brailsford believed in a concept he called the “aggregation of marginal gains.” He
explained it as:

‘the 1 per cent margin for improvement in everything you do’


He held the conviction that enhancing every aspect of cycling by merely 1% could lead to significant overall improvement. The initial focus was on anticipated areas: improving the riders’ diet, refining their weekly training schedules, optimizing the bike seat’s ergonomics, and reducing tyre weight.

However, Brailsford and his team extended their quest for marginal gains to areas often ignored by others. They identified the pillow that provided optimal sleep and brought it to hotels, determined the most efficient massage gel for each team member, and instructed riders on the most effective handwashing techniques to prevent infections. They relentlessly pursued 1% improvements in every conceivable area.

Just by making a small consistent effort to change 1 per cent, a day, at the end of the day, we improve 37.8%.

The Philosophy Behind the 1% Change

The aggregation method is all about the cumulative impact of making tiny improvements in everything you do. It’s about asking how you can change just 1% for the better. These 1% changes might seem insignificant on their own, but when you add them up, over time, they can lead to remarkable improvement. It’s a philosophy that can be applied to almost any area of your life, including business, personal development, and charity work in your community.

British Cycling’s Rise to Glory

The results? The team went on to dominate the Olympic Games, World Championships, and the Tour de France, setting new records and becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of cycling. Their success is a powerful demonstration of how the aggregation of marginal gains can lead to world-beating performance.

Applying the Aggregation Method in Business and Life

For us in the business world, especially for you ambitious directors looking to elevate your game, this method holds invaluable lessons. Imagine improving your leadership skills, financial acumen, or marketing strategies by just 1%.

Then, think about optimising your operations, sales techniques, and customer engagement with the same mindset. The compounded effect of these improvements can catapult your business to new heights.

As a business coach and non-executive director, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of embracing this philosophy. It’s not just about making changes; it’s about making the right changes, consistently, over time. It’s about being committed to continuous improvement and having the discipline to focus on the small details that, collectively, make a big difference.

Embracing the 1% Change

So, to all my fellow directors and entrepreneurs, I challenge you to embrace the aggregation method. Start small. Change just 1%.

Read one more page of that business book, leave your mobile on do not disturb for one hour, pick up the phone and make that phone call, send that email.

It could be tweaking your daily routine, refining a pitch, or simply deciding to invest in your personal development with coaching. Remember, it’s the accumulation of these small changes that leads to peak performance and unparalleled success.

Let’s take inspiration from the British Cycling Team and set our own records in our respective fields. It’s time to harness the power of marginal gains. Who’s with me?

If you’re ready to explore how you can apply the aggregation method to your leadership and business strategy, let’s connect. Together, we can identify those 1% changes that will elevate your performance and set you on the path to achieving your goals. Remember, in the world of continuous improvement, every little bit counts. Let’s make those small adjustments that lead to major achievements.