Little Effort, Big Results


Earlier this year, I was in a meeting at Chick-fil-A, listening to David Salyers speak. David spent many years in marketing at Chick-fil-A, and he shared incredible insights, but one thing in particular stuck with me. It’s an idea that Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, always promoted and espoused.

He explained, “Sometimes, 10% more effort yields 100% more results.”

In business, we often focus on addressing the negative—finding the things that are lacking that need improvement. We spend time, energy, and effort on fixing the problems, and we should. The experiences of our customers and employees are vital to our success. But we often focus so much on the problems, that we forget to make the good even better. There are times when investing 10% more of our time and effort into improving positive experiences will yield 100% more of a return.

A few months ago, I discussed the power of moments in a blog focused on a family’s experience at Disney World. In many ways, I’m sure the people at Disney spend time addressing the negative—they look at improving wait times, having contingency plans for rainy days, providing more places for families to rest, and creating more food options for their diverse customers. However, Disney understands this powerful principle: some of the most important work they do is making their top experiences even better. They ask questions like, how do we rework the fireworks show, so it’s even more magical? How do we add to our number one attraction to make it more memorable?

With finite time, people, and resources available to us, often the greatest return on investment comes in an unconventional way—not just from fixing the broken things but from improving the best things.

One of the programs we do in conjunction with Chick-fil-A is Chick-fil-A Leader Academy. As part of the program, participants create projects that impact their community. This is one of the highlights and the most important parts of our program. We have applied the principle of focusing on the positive and have found ways to make these even better.

For example, we’ve found that short, personal conversations with facilitators or participants in the program—where we provide a little bit of direction for something remarkable that’s already going to happen— can take their good project to the next level. A short interaction makes a major difference in a project’s overall impact.

One participant had an idea to create a Senior Senior Prom, an event where seniors in high school hosted senior citizens for a dance at their school. Our team reached out and provided a couple of small ideas that could increase the impact of the entire project. What if you also provide a red carpet that the senior citizens walk down to make them feel more special? And what if you have each of the senior citizens write down what they wish they would have known at their high school senior prom? These are examples of how 10% more effort could yield 100% more results. Now, when everyone walks away from this event, they will remember the little touches, the extra special moments, and the emotional connections that made this event impactful.

This idea of 10% more effort takes many different shapes in our daily interactions.

It could be the balloon the hostess tied to your daughter’s chair at the restaurant on her third birthday.

It could be the quick email you sent to one of your student’s parents, letting them know how their child has grown in his reading comprehension this month.

It could be the “my pleasure” you received after thanking the Chick-fil-A employee for setting up your child’s highchair when your hands were too full.

It could be the phone call you make to a faithful client, asking them about their most recent experience with your company.

It could be the hotel staff that grabbed your bags and helped you to your room before you even had time to ask.

This week, audit your activities. Are you dedicating all of your time to fixing the negative? Look at positive areas of your life where spending 10% more effort could yield 100% more results.  

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Today, business means more than just mere products and services. Your organization needs to stand for something. Branding is what you tell the world; leadership is how you make it come true.

No one knows this dynamic better than Kevin Paul Scott.

Companies turn to Kevin for advice on how to up the meaning-quotient in their businesses, so that employees and customers alike champion the business as if it were their own.

Let Kevin come and teach your group about how to build a business and communicate corporate values in a way that resonates with consumers.

His speeches include:
• Building a Business with Meaning
• Leading When the Majority is Wrong
• In Changing Times, Hold to Unchanging Principles
• The War for Talent: Recruiting and Retaining Top Tier Talent
• Essential Exchanges: What You Have to Give Up to Go Up