The Continuous Improvement Formula

Japanese symbol for Kaizen. "Literally means improve for the better" (Loosely translated: continuous improvement)

NOTE FROM COACH O: My friend from Twitter, Coach Bob Starkey, has really renewed my interest in ALL THINGS BRIAN TRACY! Brian is a great thought leader & has helped my personal growth in amazing ways!

As coaches/leaders who want to grow, we are always striving for continuous improvement. I found the following in his archives & immediately sparked some new thinking in me and I share with you! Enjoy…


The Continuous Improvement Formula

By: Brian Tracy

  • Put Your Career on the Fast Track

There are many things you can do to put your career onto the fast track. You can set clear, specific goals for each area of your life and then make plans to accomplish them. You can plan your work and work your plan.

  • Ask For Greater Responsibility

You can accept 100% responsibility for everything you are and everything you become. You can refuse to make excuses or to blame others. You can tell your boss that you want greater responsibilities and then when you get them, put your whole heart into doing an excellent job.

  • Utilize Your Inborn Talents

In the parable of the talents in the New Testament, Jesus says, “Oh good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over small things. I will make you master over large things.”

If you too will carry out every assignment to the very best of your ability, you will be given larger and more important things to do and you’ll be paid more as a result.

  • Dedicate Yourself to Continuous Improvement

The key to long term success is for you to dedicate yourself to continuous improvement. If you become one tenth of one percent more productive each day, that amounts to 1/1000th improvement per working day. Is that possible? Of course it is!

  • Improve A Little At A Time

If you become one tenth of one percent more productive each day, that amounts to one half of one percent more productive each week. One half of one percent more productive each week amounts to two percent more productive each month and 26% more productive each year.

The cumulative effect if becoming a tiny bit better at your field and more productive amounts to a tremendous increase in your value and your output over time.

  • How to Double Your Productivity

Twenty-six percent more productive each year, with compounding, amounts to doubling your overall productivity and performance every 2.7 years. If you become 26% more productive each year, with compounding, times 10 years, you will be 1004% more productive over the next decade. That is an increase of ten times over ten years.

  • The Reason For All Great Successes

This is called the Law of Accumulation, or the Principle of Incremental Improvement. It is the primary reason for all great success stories. By the yard, it’s hard. But inch by inch, anything’s a cinch!

  • Become A 1000% Person

Make a decision, right now, to be a 1000% person. Commit yourself to continuous personal and professional development. Read, listen to audio programs and take additional courses. This process will completely transform your life.

  • Action Exercises

Here are two things you can do to put these ideas into action immediately.

First, make a plan to become a little bit better every single day. Learn and apply one new idea each day to help you to become more productive and effective at your work. The incremental affect will amaze you.

Second, be patient. Don’t expect overnight changes or instant results. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare. Become a little bit better each day and your future will take care of itself.


Since Brian already gave us action exercises, I won’t post my usual “3 Pointers”… BUT …



I’m your partner in the pursuit of excellence!

Winners Learn From Mistakes

Mariano "Mo" Rivera, NY Yankees, arguably the greatest "closer" in Major League Baseball

A real winner is someone who can win the game at the buzzer, score the touchdown in the final seconds,

and hit a home run when you’re down by one in the bottom of the ninth.

The people who close out the game are so rare and

so special that when they come along, we practically turn them into athletic gods!

Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird, Joe Montana, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Wayne Gretzky—

these are the winners or “closers” who taught me a great lesson:

When you make a mistake or miss a shot, you don’t fix it the next day or the next week.

You fix it at the moment by being able to move on.

They can make a mistake and not let it ruin the whole game for them. 

Michael can miss seven shots in a row and not hesitate to take the eighth.

He says to himself, “I know I am not terrible. I just have to keep shooting until I hit one.”


Great athletes have incredible capacity to forget their mistakes.

So, learn from your mistakes, don’t dwell on them.


PAT O’BRIEN, former CBS Sports Host

4 Things In Common With Winning Teams

(L) Mariano Rivera & His teammates, 2009 World Series Champs (Photo by

Our John Maxwell gem today comes from his book, “Teamwork Makes The Dream Work”. In the book, Maxwell shares a story on teamwork in the most difficult of environments — during competition with each other: 

“A few years ago in Seattle, Washington, nine finalists were poised at the starting line of a 400 meter race, each planning to do his best and hoping to win the medal for first place. As the gun went off, the racers sprinted toward the finish line. But one of the runners fell down. He quickly got up and gave his all to catch up with the others. But once again, he fell. His frustration totally overcame him, and he burst into tears and began to sob loudly. Then a strange thing happened. The rest of the field heard his cries, and they turned to see that he was lying on the track. The runners began to slow down, and then one by one, they stopped, turned around, and went back to him. They picked him up, consoled him, and then together, all nine of them finished the race. In a race made for individual glory, the racers had made themselves into a team. Where in the world could something like this happen? At the Special Olympics. Perhaps that is why they are called “special”!

Maxwell, who spends all of his time working with teams, groups, companies and organizations on all levels, offered the following insights:

Look at hundreds of winning teams, and you will find that their players have four things in common:

  1.  They play to win: The difference between playing to win and playing not to lose is often the difference between success and mediocrity.
  2. They have a winning attitude: Team members believe in themselves, their teammates, and their dream. And they don’t allow negative thinking to derail them.
  3. They keep improving: The highest reward for their efforts isn’t what they get from it, but who they become because of it. Team members know intuitively that if they’re through improving, they’re through.
  4. They make their teammates more successful: Winners are empowers. As Charlie Brower says, ‘Few people are successful unless a lot of other people want them to be.”


For more from John C. Maxell visit:

Special thanks to Coach Bob Starkey who originally posted this:

Joe Torre On Winning



From Business Week’s “Competition Issue” (8/21/06)

Joe Torre On Winning 

“Don’t be afraid to fail, encourage your talent, and use your heart. And never be unprepared…”

 Competing at the highest level is not about winning. It’s about preparation, courage, understanding and nurturing your people, and heart. Winning is the result.

 To emphasize the importance of preparation, I make my players recall a painful memory from the fourth game of the 2004 American League Championship Series. We were up three games to none against Boston, and carrying a one-run lead heading into the last inning of the fourth game at Fenway. Mariano Rivera was pitching when he walked the leadoff batter. Boston decides to put in a pinch-runner, a guy named Dave Roberts, who would change the tide of the game and the entire series when he steals second. Bill Mueller comes to the plate, hits one through the middle. Roberts scores to tie the game. The Red Sox would go on to win it 6-4 and fight their way back to take the championship. Roberts hadn’t had an at-bat all series, but he was prepared to do the job being asked of him. As tough as that game was, I use it and Roberts’ performance as an example to my players. You may be frustrated by not playing — that’s my decision. But you have to understand when I put you in, you had better be ready to play because everybody in that clubhouse is relying on you. There will be a time when everyone on the team is going to contribute to winning a pennant.

 As a member of a competitive team, you want to make sure you have yourself ready to play. You don’t control anything but what you do. As a manager, you are responsible for everybody. You’re the final decision-maker. It’s tougher to do what I do here, but, I will tell you, hitting with the bases loaded is no day at the beach either. After 25 years of managing teams, the last 11 with the Yankees, I have learned not to live in the past and dwell on something that failed. The great UCLA basketball coach John Wooden told me once that you can be prepared and have the best talent there is, but you can’t necessarily control the outcome.

 I believe anybody who is not afraid to fail is a winner. I remember seeing my older brother, Frank, playing for the Milwaukee Braves in the World Series in 1957 and 1958 against the Yankees. I look back and admire him so much because he never seemed to worry about leaping to that next level. He just seemed to thrive in the pressure, never asking himself “what if I fail?” That’s why having perspective is so important. If you talk about game seven of the World Series, it becomes so enormous that it scares the heck out of you. If you take it to a level that it is a baseball game and that one of two teams has to win, all of a sudden your chances are better.

 These days it is so important for a CEO, or any manager, whoever it is, to be aware of his or her personnel. We are in an age of computers, and everything is so damn impersonal. But in the end, it still comes down to people. You have to make people feel necessary. Even if their contributions are minor, it adds to everything else. That’s what makes the machine work. I love players with heart, not necessarily emotion, but those who deep down are driven by something more than mind and body. I don’t play favorites. The 25th member of the squad is just as important as the first guy. And I can’t let my own emotions get in the way of competing. I have had to release guys I loved, and keep players I didn’t necessarily care for.

 I played and managed in more than 4,000 big league games before I ever got to a World Series. But all that experience without a championship helped me prepare for what I needed to do when I came to the Yankees. When I first accepted the job at the end of 1995, my brother Frank said I was crazy. Others were writing about how I wasn’t capable of doing this. All I knew was that George Steinbrenner was the guy who was going to give me the tools. Then it was up to me. I wasn’t afraid of the challenge. I saw it as a big opportunity. Still, even with all the talent and resources we have here, having heart is what really makes a difference. As a manager, or if you’re running a company, you want to know that you can ask somebody to do something and that they are going to find a way to get the job done. That’s the essence of a competitor.

 The toughest decision for any real warrior is deciding when to step away from the fight. I always think to myself that if February rolls around and I’m not excited about going to spring training, it’s time. It never happens. A few weeks ago we won a real nail-biter down in Texas and afterwards my stomach was burning. It was the first time in years that my stomach burned like that. One of my coaches, Larry Bowa, said to me, “See? You still want to do this.” I do love the feeling of a big win. But again you don’t have to have a World Series ring to be a winner. A winner is somebody who goes out there every day and exhausts himself trying to get something accomplished. Being able to get the most from their ability. That’s what characterizes a winner.