Definition of marginal gains: The theory that small yet significant improvements can lead to monumental results. It is otherwise known as the 1% Factor and was credited to the British Cycling team’s recent success.
Coined by one of cycling’s greatest influences, the marginal gains philosophy supplies countless benefits, from productivity to sustainable growth, resulting in unlimited personal development. A workplace or sports team that value the power of marginal gains are more likely to rise to the top – and stay there.
Here is everything you need to know about marginal gains, including the speakers regularly booked to delve even deeper into the subject. Deciphering the theory of marginal gains has become essential for out-running, climbing, and out-earning your competitors, resulting in interest from sports psychologists and technologists alike. By applying the philosophy to your workplace, with the help of our experts, you can access untapped potential.
MARGINAL GAINS WAS COINED BY SIR DAVE BRAILSFORD
When Dave Brailsford was appointed Performance Director of British Cycling, he faced an uphill battle. The team had been struggling to perform, limited by their “big picture” view of winning they had failed to reach the Olympic podium for several decades. Dave pledged to shake up the status quo, taking the team back to basics with marginal gains.
By addressing each athlete’s individual weaknesses, Dave developed the team enough to win two gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games – their best finish since 1908. From BMX to Mountain Bike World Championships, the marginal gains theory is credited to the team’s recent explosion in first-place finishes.
In response to such a monumental impact, the theory has since been applied by the Social Mobility Commission to the UK’s Education Policy and is employed by businesses across the globe.
SMALL CHANGES PRODUCE BIG RESULTS (+ EXAMPLES)
The marginal gains theory is simple to understand, and incredibly effective when applied to your workplace. Widely used in business, it can drastically improve the performance of all employees, from Apprentices to Directors, and requires little budget, energy, or time to apply.
Check out our examples of small changes producing big results, below:
It is no secret that a business relies on profits to succeed, but what do you do when your outgoings overwhelm your revenue? Utilise marginal gains. Consider your electricity bill, which, for many businesses who supply office space, can be a source of monthly anxiety. Taking the afternoon to audit the efficiency of your light bulbs, then ordering and installing LED replacements, can save you thousands of pounds a year.
In a 2017 report by the British Government, £1.1bn out of £3.7bn worth of country-wide savings were credited to energy-efficient lighting, as it consumes on average 20% of a business’s electricity use. Changing a few lightbulbs may seem like a surface-level change, but as is the nature of marginal gains, it can lead to drastic savings.
It can only take a 10-minute meeting to discover the hidden weaknesses that are holding your team back, whether that be an uncomfortable office chair or a gap in their knowledge. Thanks to marginal gains, you can then delegate solutions to such issues, improve productivity and create a positive channel of communication with your employees.
If your employees use an online service to organise their documents, a separate chat program and another email provider, travelling between the three can create miscommunication and take time out of your team’s day. Instead, services like Microsoft Teams offers everything your business will need in one place, increasing efficiency. Marginal gains in motion.
Improve Workplace Satisfaction
How do you improve workplace satisfaction, without distracting your employees with costly team outings? Fruit. By supplying complimentary fruit to your team, every Monday for example, you are sending a clear message; “I value your health and wellbeing”. The small expense can increase workplace satisfaction, decrease turnover and entice new, talented employees as an additional benefit.
Alternatively, consider holding stand-up meetings. Though this may sound nonsensical on the surface, it can ensure that conversations are concise, encourage follow up discussions and keep your team, physically, on their toes. By breaking up the daily humdrum of office chairs and stationary distractions, your employees will feel invigorated.
BUSINESSPEOPLE & SPORTS COACHES ALIKE USE MARGINAL GAINS
Whether in business or sport, results are what matter the most. The marginal gains philosophy approaches specific weaknesses as opportunities for growth, not points of criticism, improving the emotional wellbeing of athletes and employees alike. With marginal gains, a team can grow and develop in a way that best suits their needs.
Top Marginal Gains Speakers
As well as the mastermind himself, Dave Brailsford, here are just some of our exceptional marginal gains speakers:
Youngest Person to Climb Mount Everest
From an amateur climber to the youngest British woman to summit Mount Everest in 2010, Bonita Norris is the living embodiment of marginal gains. With her strict training regime and unwavering self-belief, she was able to develop her skills, resilience, and mental strength. This allowed Bonita to achieve her dreams and become the first British woman to climb the fourth highest mountain, Mt. Lhotse, in 2012. Now an impactful motivational speaker, she tours the circuit with her story, promoting the power of marginal gains.
Previous testimonials of Bonita’s include:
"I have seen many speakers over the years and less than a handful have been able to capture an audience for an hour without anyone realising that time had passed. She was funny, articulate and somehow humble even given her achievements and whilst the word is used rather too much these days, she was genuinely inspirational"
- Capabilities & Consulting TT&C
Silver Medal Winning Olympian
Another individual who saw vast improvements with marginal gains is Gail Emms. To achieve a silver medal in badminton at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, she focused on the small improvements that would allow Gail to outperform her competition, strengthening her physical and mental resolve. With the development of sports science today, Gail views marginal gains as an essential factor of every athlete’s training programme, a sentiment that she conveys as a speaker. Entertaining and enlightening, her speeches discuss how the philosophy led her to Olympic success.
Previous testimonials of Gail’s include:
"Gail did an absolutely amazing job. Her talk was humorous, interesting, emotional and exciting, underlining the message and theme for our evening. The feedback from staff, parents and students was all extremely positive. Gail stayed around at the end of the evening to meet students and was happy to chat, answer questions and have photos, an added bonus. I would highly recommend Gail for other school events, her enthusiasm and passion for supporting young people shone through."
- Meden School
F1 Team Principal of Red Bull Racing
Formula One Team Principal, Christian Horner, has experienced first-hand the impact of marginal gains through the performance of his drivers. As the visionary leader of Red Bull Racing, a formidable force on the track, his keen eye for untapped potential led Max Verstappen to compete wheel to wheel with the giants at Mercedes, in 2020. Christian himself enjoyed a successful career behind the wheel, a testament to his comprehensive understanding of marginal gains. When booked for events, he sets the standard for incremental improvements.
Previous testimonials of Christian’s include:
"It was a pleasure and honour to work with Christian and the Red Bull racing team ahead of the event, plus at the event. He has been very easy to work with and is such a genuine nice person. Giving speedy responses and feedback, plus always helping wherever he could! The audience and our employees were really impressed by his content, and its delivery. Everyone was thrilled about the session from start to finish. We had a unanimous feedback score, a 5 out of 5 rating from all the respondents for that session! Which is the highest rated session we ever had. I would highly recommend booking Christian for speaking at events."
- Service Max
BOOK A MARGINAL GAINS SPEAKER
Marginal gains speakers have cracked the code for personal development. Their unwavering self-belief and awareness of their flaws inspire audiences, while their first-hand experience with adversity builds mental resilience. The perfect speakers for corporate events, open the audience’s eyes to their potential, improving workplace performance. For business owners, a marginal gains expert can have a transformative impact.
Which topics can a marginal gains speaker discuss?
Personal & Professional Development
If you wish to hire a speaker on marginal gains, look no further than Champions Speakers. Our speakers can shed light on the topic, using their personal experiences to resonate with audiences and supply a simple guide for transformative development. To find out more, contact a booking agent via our online contact form, or on 0207 1010 553.
Megan has managed the internal content for Champions Speakers since 2019 when she joined the company as a Digital Copyrighter. In 2020, she progressed to Content Executive and only a year later, Megan was promoted to Senior Content Executive, where s... Read more
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