Little Changes, BIG Results

on June 28, 2017

It is true that change is tough for a lot of people and, probably, most organizations. Why?

  • People are creatures of habit
  • Change might rock the boat
  • Folks may not share the vision for change
  • There are vested interests in not changing
  • It’s uncomfortable
  • It’s too much work

So yes, change is not always easy. But the good news is that it turns out that it need not be overwhelming either.

Let’s call it The Trimtab Principle (based on the observations of the futurist Bucky Fuller.)

I want you to think about a giant tanker steaming through the ocean. Consider how much energy there is in its forward motion. How does the captain get such a giant object with so much momentum to change course?

He turns the ship’s wheel, the wheel turns the rudder, and the rudder turns the ship, right?

Wrong.

There is actually so much water pressure on the rudder that turning the wheel won’t work. The way it actually happens is that the rudder has a little mini-rudder on it called a trimtab. When the captain turns the ship’s wheel, the wheel turns the trimtab, the trimtab turns the rudder, and only then does the rudder turn the ship.

The trimtab in yellow

It is the small change in the trimtab that makes the giant ocean liner change course.

Now, the thing is, it is not simply that any small change will create a big result; we all know that that’s not the way it works. What does work, however, is that a small change applied in the right place can act like a fulcrum in the change department. Again, think about the trimtab. A change in the trimtab changes the direction of the ocean liner because the trimtab is situated at the right place at the end of the rudder. Translated into business, this means that what you need to do is figure out where in your business a small change can most likely foster a big result.

I have a friend who recently lost 44 lbs. How? He stopped eating carbs. Was that an easy change to make? No, of course not. But it wasn’t a big change either. It was a simple change in the right place that set him on a different course.

What little change can set your business on a different course?

The secret is to figure out that special thing that you do which can be a multiplier if given a little extra oxygen. Let me give you an example. A friend of mine has a content heavy website. He was trying to figure out how to better monetize the site. He looked at analytics, ad buys, search terms, you name it. It seemed, and was apparently, overwhelming.

Then, one day he looked at his most popular articles. It turned out that five articles (all on similar subjects) generated almost a third of his pageviews. He realized that that was his sweet spot and he therefore decided to start selling related products on those five pages. It was not a big change, but it was a significant one applied in the right place.

His income doubled within a year.

So, my question for you today is: What is your trimtab?

© 2017, The Strauss Group, Inc.