Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Smallest Change Makes the Biggest Impact

A client I am doing work for has issued a company-wide challenge to all of their employees. From now until the end of the year, employees have been asked to find ways to contribute to the bottom line by either making a certain set dollar amount or saving that same amount each day for the company. We're not talking thousands of dollars a day (although that would be welcomed), but an amount equal to a nice dinner for two plus tip at a decent restaurant.

When it comes down to it, this is not a challenge that is out of reach. It's easy to meet and even though it is relatively small, it has the potential to be very significant. I'm a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point and if you have not read it, the overall theme of the book is the smallest changes have the greatest impact - some for the better, some for the worse.

As consultants, we sometimes challenge our clients to make small changes to have a tremendous impact on their businesses. Most of the time, they don't see what is needed to make this small change because they are too close to the situation. Nevertheless, is there a small thing you can do in your current work with your clients that will have a significant impact? Can you engage a previous client to renew a relationship and find a way to make a small change to the work you delivered in the past to bring about positive change?

There are many ways to approach this. What ideas do you have that you are willing to share here? I'm not asking you to be specific on what you would do for your client or past client. I can't ask you to break confidentiality, but in general I'd be interested in seeing what you can offer that will serve as good fodder for all readers of this blog.

Let's start a Tipping Point of our own in our businesses and our client's businesses! The smallest change makes the biggest impact.

1 comment:

Richard I. Garber said...

One of the most powerful tools for generating small changes is preventing mistakes before they can happen: the mistake proofing of processes. John Grout’s web site is an excellent resource on the subject.

Grout’s free ebook on “Mistake-Proofing the Design of Health Care Processes” has an excellent first chapter on “What is Mistake Proofing?”. This book can be downloaded at