The Compounding Effect: The Power of Small Incremental Improvements

A common approach to self-improvement involves setting a big goal and then trying to take huge leaps to achieve it in the shortest time possible. Although this sounds great in theory, it can often lead to burnout, frustration, or failure. Instead, we should be focusing on continuous improvement and slowly but surely changing our everyday habits and behaviors.

Continuous improvement refers to the commitment to make small changes and improvements each day with the expectation that these small improvements will lead to something more.

What is the Law of Incremental Improvement?

The Law of Incremental Improvement Practice states that “continuous improvement” is possible, you can achieve extraordinary results by improving your skills bit by bit each day in relation to your goals.

These tasks are repetitive and relatively simple, so they don’t seem to be susceptible to significant change.

Incremental Improvement: What the law states

It doesn’t always have to be about making big, dramatic changes. Sometimes it’s necessary to address large problems with big projects; however, this is not always true. Incremental improvement is a method of process improvement that focuses your efforts on small solutions that gradually but surely lead to success. The results will last for many years, even though they may not have an immediate impact. The accumulation of small improvements can often be as powerful or more powerful than trying to make huge leaps.

This is about value. If you are able to increase the value of your services, growth will follow. If high growth and scalability seem daunting, remember the compounding effect: incremental improvement.

Even though it may be uncomfortable, growth is key. Our daily habits are key to continuous growth.

How Does Continuous Incremental Improvement Work?

We often believe that any change we make is meaningful only if it has a visible, tangible outcome. We often feel pressure to achieve some amazing improvement, whether it’s losing weight, starting a business, or traveling the world. Even though a 1 percent improvement is not significant, it can still be significant, especially over the long-term.

It doesn’t matter if you choose 1 percent better or worse in the beginning. It won’t have any impact on you today. As time passes, the small gains or losses make more sense, and suddenly you will see a huge gap between those who make better decisions every day and those who do not. These small changes don’t make a big difference in the short-term, but they add up over time.

You will be able to make small, incremental changes if you are able to identify the bad and good habits in your life, break them, and practice the good ones. 

How to Implement Continuous Incremental Improvement

Let’s now talk about some quick steps that you can take to get started on continuous improvement.

Continue to do what is already working.

We often throw away the ideas and resources we have because they aren’t exciting or new.

Many small and large behaviors can have the potential to make a difference in our lives. If we do them more consistently, there are many other opportunities. Every day, floss. Don’t miss a workout. Perform basic business tasks every day, not only when you have the time. More often, apologize. Each week, write thank you notes.

Progress is often hidden behind dull solutions and unutilized insights. You might not need more information or a new strategy. It’s enough to continue doing what works.

Avoid small losses

Improvement is often not about doing more right things but doing fewer wrong things.

This concept is called “improvement by subtraction.” It focuses on doing less of the things that don’t work.

These are just a few examples.

  • Education Avoid stupid mistakes and make fewer mental mistakes.
  • Investing. Never lose your money. Limit your risk.
  • Web Design Remove any on-page elements that distract users.
  • Exercise – Miss fewer workouts.
  • Nutrition: Eat less unhealthy food.

Avoiding small losses is one of the best ways you can make huge gains.

Implementing Continuous Incremental Improvement

Measure backward

Our progress is often measured by looking ahead. We set goals. We set milestones to track our progress. We try to project the future.

There is an alternative and, I believe, a more effective approach. Measure backward, not forward.

“Measure backward” refers to making decisions based on what has happened and not what you want.

Here are some examples.

  • Weight Loss: Measure your calorie intake. Did you eat 3,500 calories per day last week? Try to eat 3,400 calories per day.
  • Strength Training: You squatted 250 lbs for 5 sets and 5 reps last week. Try 255 pounds this week.
  • Relationships: How many people have you met this week? Zero? Zero?
  • Entrepreneurship: Last week, you only had two clients. Your average client list is five. You should focus on more sales calls this week.

Take a step back, and you will be able to do better. What were you able to do last week? What can you do to improve your performance this week?

Always ask for feedback

We ask for feedback whenever we have the opportunity to hear from potential clients or employees. We don’t always have direct access to certain things, so we ask for feedback.

Continuously implement improvements based on feedback

We look for ways to improve the processes when feedback is received. Do you need to blacklist a vendor? Are there any employees whose efficiency needs to be improved? Are there any processes in our system that need to be improved based on the customer’s use? Whatever it may be, we are inclined to take action.

Read More: The 80/20 Rule: How It Works and How You Can Apply It In Your Life To Get The Best Results

Read More: Why Consistency is An Important Habit

Read More: The Stoic Way of Life: The Tranquility of Mind and Certainty of Moral Worth

What are the Benefits of Small Incremental Improvement?

It is easier to implement ideas for improvement. 

This is largely because the ideas come from front-line staff and often relate to their everyday work. Employee ideas are more likely to be subtle changes to the existing process and, therefore, easier to implement. To make improvements, they don’t require approval from the committee or executive.

These improvement ideas have low risk

These ideas, which are small and staff-generated, can be tested in one area of the organization to see if they have any impact or success. They can be used to improve processes throughout the company for greater impact. Find out how small improvements can make a big difference.

Benefits of Small Incremental Improvement

Employee resistance to process improvement is less common. People are sensitive to top-down changes, which often don’t improve anything. Staff will be more likely to adopt the changes if they are asked to identify the things that will improve the organization. This is because they see the benefits of their work and are interested in their success.

Improvement is more affordable 

This approach makes the most of your existing resources, such as staff, knowledge, and infrastructure. It doesn’t require additional research, construction, or equipment. You don’t have to make large capital investments. These are usually improvements your staff can make with existing resources or at low incremental costs.

Staff engagement increases 

Incremental improvements draw on the collective knowledge and experience of your staff. This allows you to tap into the collective power of your workers to improve your business. Employee engagement is encouraged by recognition and responsibility. This will encourage pride in work and voluntary participation. People will come up with ideas to make their jobs easier and improve the service they provide to customers. This will lead to both employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction.


As we stated at the beginning, “continuous improvement” is the commitment to making small changes every day and making improvements with the expectation that these small improvements will lead to something more significant. Do better, be better.

Daily Consistency = Massive Results: THE COMPOUND EFFECT by Darren Hardy | Core Message
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