“Aggregation of Marginal Gains”: Not for the first time in my editorial career, I have to tip my hat to my colleague Paul Icke. It was Paul who told me that the GB Olympic cycling team use this phrase to underpin their performance philosophy (Guardian) and it was Paul who alerted me to the fact you don’t have to be wearing Lycra to apply it to your own business. Paul’s a member of my local SfEP group and he’s a master of turning a minor tweak into a big opportunity.
“Aggregation of marginal gains” is like evolution – make some very small changes and further down the line you’ll have something much bigger.
So what does it mean for editorial pros? For me, the philosophy fits in very nicely with two things: (1) continued professional development – a course, maybe one a year, that teaches me a new skill or refreshes a current one; (2) refining my business strategy – taking stock of how I present my business and where my key markets are, and carrying out the necessary tweaks to make my goals achievable.
My 2012 marginal gains
This year I’ve achieved several marginal gains:
The aggregate impact
None of the above marginal gains is a major revision of my original business planning, but when taken as a whole the impact is big. By the end of 2012 I’ll have changed a few things, added a few things, learned a few things, and shared a few things. But when I add up those “few things” and consider how each one is connected with another, the aggregate impact is a “tighter” business – my skill base is stronger, my brand is clearer, my market knowledge has improved, and my business network has expanded.
What's great about this philosophy is that it acknowledges the importance of doing the small things –things that be quick and easy to implement, things that may not cost you anything, things that may even be fun – and yet the overall benefit you'll accrue will be large. If you've achieved some marginal gains that made a big impact when added together, please share them with us in the Comments section. I'd love to make some more tweaks in the next twelve months that I borrowed from a colleague!
If you want to read the notes of the Norfolk group meeting where we discussed lots of marketing ideas, including the domain name issue, click here. You might also be interested in my article Eight Reasons to Place Your Résumé Online. For a more detailed exploration of how to go about professionalizing your domain name, look out for Paul Icke’s forthcoming guest article on the subject.
To read the transcript of the Publishing Training Centre’s live Q&A on editorial freelancing, click here. For information about training and CPD courses in the UK, check out the PTC’s course catalogue and the SfEP’s online course booking pages. If you live outside the UK, visit your national editorial society’s webpage for advice.
For information about joining your local SfEP group, click here.
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I am an Advanced Professional Member of the UK's national editorial society. Visit the SfEP website for more information.
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