Posted On November 28, 2016
We love the moonshot. We love the idea of the sudden leap forward that comes out of nowhere and changes our world.
Kind of like, well, the time we went to the moon.
After all, to go from John F. Kennedy’s call to put a man on the moon to actually landing on the moon in the same decade is the literal definition of the word moonshot. We also love the overnight success. We love the story of the band that bursts onto the scene and changes music forever.
Kind of like how no one had heard of The Beatles—and then they took over American music and caused hysteria on The Ed Sullivan Show. Except that’s not the way success and excellence work. Our journey to the moon didn’t begin in 1961 and culminate in 1969.
It began with centuries of study, of trial and error, of trying to better understand artificial flight.
Because before we could land on the moon, we needed to know how to get off the ground.
And The Beatles weren’t an overnight success. In fact, it took seven years of daily, hours-long practices—along with seemingly endless numbers of gigs in small clubs—before anyone noticed the band.
Before they could conquer the charts, they needed to learn how to play together, and after nearly a decade of anonymity a record label finally noticed. Despite what we’re lead to believe, sudden success is incredibly rare, and excellence doesn’t occur overnight.
Excellence happens little by little.
As frustrating as it can sometimes be, excellence is almost always the result of incremental improvement.
Dave Brailsford, Performance Director for Great Britain’s national cycling team, understood this. Looking to improve the team’s performance, Brailsford and his staff broke cycling down to hundreds of small tasks and behaviors that occur both on and off the bike.
His team then focused on making small, incremental improvements in as many of those tasks and behaviors as possible. How thoroughly cyclists washed their hands was even subject to improvement.
Why did the team’s performance director bring in a hygienist to show cyclists how to properly wash their hands? Because Brailsford believed that while achieving a 10% improvement in any one task or behavior was difficult, a 1% improvement in 10 tasks or behaviors was very achievable.
When it came to the team’s health, if 10 cyclists were 1% better at washing their hands, the team was 10% less likely to catch a cold before an important race.
The results spoke for themselves. Brailsford turned Great Britain into a dominant cycling team, and has since implemented his theory of incremental improvement in another (equally dominant) professional team.
At Flat World Holdings, we also believe in incremental improvement. We believe that companies build a culture of excellence little by little, and that collectively those small improvements lead to large leaps forward for us, and for our customers.
That theory is at the root of everything we do. It’s why Flat World Holdings isn’t just one company, but a family of businesses that addresses distinct—but related—aspects of your supply chain and logistics needs.
Flat World Supply Chain, Flat World Hospitality, Ram International, Ram Custom Crating, and Prologue Technology are all here to help our customers overcome their logistics challenges and gain increased visibility and efficiency within their supply chain.
We didn’t land on the moon all at once. The Beatles took seven years to “burst” onto the scene. Great Britain won Olympic cycling medals in part by being 1% better at washing their hands. Flat World Holdings went from a two-person company to where we are today little by little, step by step.
And we look forward to helping you, step by step, until your company is 100% better at moving its products across the globe.