What is the fastest way to cover a quarter mile drag strip in a motor car? To answer this question, choose 1 of the 2 answers I’ve provided below. Even if you haven’t been a drag racer or a young and spirited rev head in your past, you’ll understand why these answers were provided.


The fastest way is to rev the engine to its maximum and then drop the clutch, spinning the wheels with smoke pouring off, engine screaming, the buzz and excitement of sliding sideways all over the track and fighting to keep it straight.


The fastest way is to ease the clutch out as you smoothly build the engine revs, only applying just enough power to accelerate as fast as you can while maintaining traction.

What’s your answer?

Of course it’s the second one isn’t it?

Just like success is achieved in a drag race through a controlled build-up, success in business comes from continual improvement. Incrementally making lots of little changes until they change the direction, thus the destiny, of the company.

As the little changes are consolidated, just like in the drag car, there is a breakthrough where you can flatten the accelerator. Momentum is built up to the point where it really can get a life of its own.

Everything Changes

Everything changes … this is one of the laws of life. If it’s not improving, it’s going backwards; if it’s not growing it’s dying; a fact we all know.

The only choice we have is in which direction we want the change to go. If we try to make or force the change we choose through revolutionary shifts, my experience is it’s probably not going to last.

So the key point I’m trying to make here is this – crossing the chasm between good and outstanding is an evolutionary process, not a revolutionary one.

This also applies to you as a person with goals and desires and dreams.

If you wanted to build a magnificent body, how would you do it? Well, you’d do it over time, wouldn’t you? You’d make incremental changes through working out and slowly build one change on top of the other until a new body is created.

If you wanted the results right now, what would you do? You’d pump your body full of steroids, go and push a truckload of weights. You’d get short-term results but you also know you’d pay a long-term price.

Lotto provides a good metaphor to reinforce what we’re saying here, Winning Lotto or Powerball doesn’t make people wealthy.

People get the goal [to be wealthy] without the process [of creating wealth]. They don’t learn how to create wealth and sustain money and there’s plenty of stories around of people who have won Lotto or Powerball and it eventually destroyed their lives.

Every person who has ever achieved anything remarkable did so through an evolutionary process. Every great company researched today, achieved their results through continual and progressive change; a commitment to continual improvement built over time in an evolutionary way.

A Point About Paradigms to Consider

Long-term change only comes after a paradigm change.

The mindset that is conditioned during the flat times or periods of underperformance usually dominate. If people experience a sudden or revolutionary change that is imposed on them, they experience pain. People hate it. They can’t wait to get back to what they’re comfortable with and that’s the behaviour that created the problem in the first place.

The application of pain to create change is never sustainable. You only have to look at dieting. To change results, you can’t just change behaviours. You must change the thinking patterns that give birth to emotions and behaviours.

Our paradigms or the way we think are the foundations for which our feelings and behaviours occur. Change behaviour without change in paradigm; the paradigm eventually wins out.

It’s important to remember that the thinking and behavioural patterns that exist today are what created today and that’s true in your business life and also in your personal life.

If you as a leader fail to create a culture of continual improvement; a culture where evolutionary change is on every person’s mind, your organisation will eventually go through a cost-cutting initiative to get the business back on track at some point; it’s inevitable.

If you’re rolling out a business improvement initiative, your ultimate goal is to change the culture to one of continual improvement first.

The content here is drawn from George Lee Sye’s publication titled People Leadership Growth. It provides a clue to the psychology and culture that underpins business success in any industry and gives rise to the success of any Lean Six Sigma based improvement strategy. For more information about where to get this book, visit GeorgeLeesye.com/Books

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