The power of getting 1% better daily – Mark MacLeod

June 10, 2020 - Mark MacLeod

The power of getting 1% better daily

When you are building a startup out of nothing, every day counts. Especially while you are still burning money. Many CEOs think that they need to grind harder. Work more hours. Hustle. Sleep when they die, etc.

The key for CEOs is not to work harder, but to get better! As I posted about recently, a CEO actually should have a small number of key priorities. It is not about working harder, but getting better and smarter in order to get the most impact from your top core priorities.

A key metric for yourself then should not be ‘how hard did I work today”? Instead, ask yourself, “how can I improve tomorrow”?

There are about 200 work days in a year. 200 chances to review your performance, reflect and get better. Here’s a quote from Tobi, co-founder and CEO at Shopify from a conversation I had with him in 2013:

“I perceive my days as if there is a camera behind me. I can replay my day and learn from it”. “Introspection is all you’ve got. You’re not going to get a lot of feedback as CEO”.

Most CEOs are grinding, running from meeting to meeting, trying to keep up with email, Slack, etc. They don’t have the time for this reflection. And they don’t have the energy for it when they get home. They just get back on the ferris wheel each day.

Tobi has proven that you can build a truly massive company while still working at a sustainable pace and taking the time to recharge yourself, reflect and grow.

In that conversation Tobi talked about getting 1% better each day. This is what that looks like over a 200 day work year.

By taking the time to learn, replay your day, capture actionable insights and get better tomorrow you will grow your capabilities over 7x in a year!

Moreover, by demonstrating to your team that you are learning and growing (by admitting that you screwed up yesterday), you will show them that it is ok to make mistakes and that they too should emulate your path and work on themselves. Imagine the compound effect of your entire senior leadership team getting 1% better daily!

Questions to consider:

How often do I look at how to improve my personal performance?

What changes do I need to make in my habits and schedule in order to create space for daily reflection?

What support systems do I need around me in order to capture the info that will feed my daily insights?

How often do I admit to my senior team members when I screwed up?

What would the impact on our culture and creativity be if I did this more?

How do I share this learning orientation with my team?

How can I best share my learnings with the team so that we will benefit from them?

Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash

If you’re curious about my coaching and deal work you can learn more here.

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