Small adjustments

Bicycles - Small Adjustments

This picture was taken earlier this week at a favourite “coffee and bacon roll” stop on a bike ride with my regular riding buddy. Yes, though both bikes date to 2011, the photo is from this week.

We could both ride newer bikes, but hey, we like these ones. Could we get greater performance from the radical change of spending £££$$$ on brand new bikes to replace these already high quality machines?

Yes, we could. However, we choose to ensure we get the most out of what we have by both making sure they are well maintained, and also making sure we “fit” them. “Fit”? Yes, bikes must first be the right size for the rider, then be “fit” to them, the most important element of which is the height of the saddle.

Am sure you can sense an analogy coming, and for this I take you to the masterful Seth Godin, as well as an idea or two of my own

Optimising Value

I’ve been a regular bike rider for a long time, so I’ve learned the power of making sure you get the most from yourself and your bike. It is great to make radical changes (like buying a new bike), but if you don’t optimise that bike, you are wasting the full opportunity.

In business, as an example, you can spend time, focus and money defining your brand and building out your branding and brand expression (eg through logos, website, copy), but if you don’t ensure this permeates through everything you do consistently and methodically, a lot of that major investment is and will continue to be wasted.

Continuous Improvement

Now, as you do look to ensure you optimise the return on any major investment, also be aware that you can make regular small adjustments to keep optimising, to look for that “continuous improvement” as athletes do.

In cycling, we adjust our saddle height no more than about 1cm at a time, as anything beyond that small adjustment could cause “knock on” negative effects (eg an injury through a shift in body angle). It is also recommended to have a bike fit session annually to see what may have changed, just as adults are recommended to get their eyes checked by their optician annually to see if there have been any changes, often minor.

In business then, always have an attitude of seeking continuous improvement, as well as being aware that you can and often should to this through a series of small changes and adjustments.

To take the brand example, I often recommend starting an email newsletter once you have clarity on brand and brand expression. When you do this, don’t wait for it to be perfect before launching, as “perfection is the enemy of progress”. Instead, get it out there as soon as your brand is ready, then look to adjust it as you produce each new newsletter.

With that, I will first hand you over to Seth, then I think it is time for me to call my local bike shop and book a bike fit session 😉

Small Adjustments

Even better than buying a new bicycle is adjusting the seat on your existing bike properly.

That’s because the height of the seat changes your power. It’s the point of maximum leverage, responsible for aligning all of the forces you bring to bear on the process.

When we begin to think about our work, we tend to focus on the largest structures–what it looks like from the outside. But as we engage with the problem at hand, it turns out that our impact changes based on how we stand, what we believe and the ways we interact with the systems right in front of us.

Get the strategy right, then implement small changes, repeated with persistence and generosity.

Seth Godin, “Small Adjustments”

Also published on Medium.