One Bite at a Time

Category: Strategy Published on Sep 29 2016

Do you remember the childhood riddle: “How do you eat an elephant?”


The answer: “One bite at a time.”


So when I ask you: “How do you grow your business?” what do you answer?


I answer: “One task at a time.”


The science behind my statement is explained by Charles Duhigg in his book, The Power of Habit. Mr. Duhigg makes two key points that are relevant to our discussion:

 - One tiny change is a small win that has the power to create results that are disproportionate to the change.

 - Willpower to make the change is reinforced by writing down your good intentions.


Therefore, by making small changes in your business you have the power to create huge growth. It’s not always necessary or desirable to look for the ‘magic bullet’ that will make a huge difference. While these large and frequently lucky changes are the ones that make headlines, they are not required to create the growth you desire.


Stated another way, small changes that are made and kept will bring more results than making one large change that you are unable to sustain over time. I would also add that changes that are consistent with your brand identity will leverage both the change implemented and the growth of your business.


As we all know, the challenging part is identifying those tasks that will make a difference and produce the results you desire. The challenge becomes less arduous when you are clear about ‘who’ your company is and what its primary purpose is (i.e. your internal brand identity) and you have a strategic plan.


Which brings us back to Mr. Duhigg’s second point. A written strategic plan provides you with the focus and motivation (willpower) to make the changes you desire.  A well written strategic plan includes:

 - A vision of what you desire to achieve

 - A measure of where you are now

 - A prioritized list of strategic initiatives

 - Detailed action plans that are broken down into small tasks and include cost, time limits, and responsible party

 - A one page summary of the most important tasks in the upcoming weeks


When your strategic plan includes these elements it reinforces your willpower to make the change you envision. Remember, business growth is created one bite, I mean task, at a time.


So what can you do today to move towards your business vision of the future?