Micro effort is a secret sauce of successful companies

I was 13 when it happened. I was standing in a stadium, near the finish line, my head down, looking at people congratulating the guy who was first.

I always loved running. 100m, 400m, 5km, 10km you name it. It was easy. It was natural. I was natural.

I was nervous on the day of my first big competition, but I was sure I’ll win. I started fast, leaving everybody behind. So close to the end of the race, I slowed down a bit. Too confident I’m going to win, I didn’t push myself enough.

But there was someone who did. A few dozens of steps before the finish line an underdog passed me and came first. I was shocked. I was devastated.

I lost.

Many times in our lives the difference between winning and losing is a micro effort. One millisecond faster, one step further, one phone call more, one smile broader.

It’s easy to think there is some kind of a secret formula. It’s easy to wait for an overnight success, hoping that things would just magically work out.

But most of the times success is an accumulation of small consistent improvements.

Every other motivational picture has some variation of this principle 1.01365 = 37.8 vs 0.99365 = 0.03
Daily increase vs daily decrease

It basically shows the power of incremental improvements spread out over a period of one year. If you are making just 1% progress every day you are going to reach a result approximately 3800% better than if you are doing the 1% daily decrease over the same time period.

The difference in a daily micro effort after a year doesn’t look that micro at all. It’s fucking huge.

Since we started building Teambit, I’ve asked myself multiple times, is it something that people really need? Are we building something special and useful? And when I see examples like that, I know the answer stares me in the face.

People are the core of any organization. Every single process is impacted by the team. People design and build the product, they sell and promote it. If they are able to improve the level of their engagement by 1% every day, the sky would be the limit. And that’s what research shows – companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%.

Of course, few things actually work like that. It’s a compound growth, so if you managed to increase your performance by 1%, the next day you need to do a 1% increase over the previous day performance, not the initial one. This way on a day 100 you would be working 270% more than on your first one. Which, frankly, is unsustainable.

Despite that, it’s a perfect illustration of the need to go an extra mile every day. Even if that mile is as small is one step. Step by step. Because that’s how you get to building awesome things, that’s how you get to attracting the best people, that’s how you get to keeping and engaging them. That’s how you make your team the best it can be.