There was a great interview with Dave Brailsford, British Cycling’s Performance Director, on BBC One this morning.  He was explaining the methods he’d used to help the British Olympic cycling team to their success in London 2012.

“We start by analysing the demands of the event we want to win. We then prioritise because we know we can’t win everything. Then we look at where we are today and see the gap between where we are and where we want to be and how we can get there… ” Amazing common sense stuff in all the hyperbole of the Olympics.

He went on to say that they focus on the little details to get marginal gains. “The principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of and improve it by 1%, and then put it back together again you will get a significant increase. There’s fitness and conditioning but there are other things that might seem on the periphery like sleeping in the right position, having the same pillow when you are going away and training in different places, hygiene… They’re tiny things but if you clump them all together it makes a big difference.”

What a breath of fresh air! If only marketers and salespeople worked together to make a multitude of small improvements, rather than seeking the ‘next big thing‘, perhaps their customers would be better satisfied and their sales increase!

He went on to explain that he that’s there’s no magic to their success, although the French magazine L’Equipe fell for his tongue-in-cheek remark that they had “especailly round wheels”!

[Image courtesy of Cycle Sport]