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Harnessing the Power of "Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?" to Propel Organisational Success

In the relentless pursuit of excellence, organisations often seek inspiration from diverse sources, ranging from timeless philosophical principles to contemporary best practices. One such source of profound insight is the book "Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?" by Ben Hunt-Davis and Harriet Beveridge. As a former practitioner who ardently advocated for this book's significance by gifting it to every new member of my team, I can attest to its transformative potential within organisational contexts.


At its core, "Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?" chronicles the remarkable journey of the British rowing team's transformation from mediocrity to Olympic glory. It unveils the team's unwavering commitment to a philosophy of relentless improvement, encapsulated in the deceptively simple question: "Will it make the boat go faster?" This question serves as a compass, guiding every decision, action, and endeavour towards the singular goal of achieving peak performance.






One of the most compelling aspects of the book lies in its advocacy for the concept of marginal gains. As Hunt-Davis and Beveridge eloquently illustrate, success is not solely determined by grandiose gestures or monumental breakthroughs, but rather by the cumulative effect of countless small improvements in various facets of performance. This notion is encapsulated in a poignant quote from the book: "It's not about doing one thing 100% better, but about doing 100 things 1% better."


Organisations can draw invaluable lessons from this principle of marginal gains. By fostering a culture that values continuous improvement and encourages individuals to seek incremental enhancements in their respective roles, organisations can unlock hidden reservoirs of potential and propel themselves towards unprecedented heights of success. Whether it's optimising internal processes, refining customer experiences, or enhancing product quality, the relentless pursuit of marginal gains can yield exponential dividends over time.


Moreover, "Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?" underscores the importance of clarity of purpose and unwavering commitment to goals. The British rowing team's unwavering focus on their ultimate objective – winning an Olympic gold medal – served as a rallying point that galvanised collective effort and determination. Similarly, organisations that define clear, compelling goals and align their actions and resources towards their attainment are better positioned to surmount obstacles and achieve sustained success.


Another resonant quote from the book encapsulates this sentiment: "The bigger the goal, the stronger the motivation." By setting audacious yet achievable goals that inspire and challenge employees, organisations can foster a sense of purpose and direction that transcends individual interests and fosters collective engagement. This shared sense of purpose not only fosters cohesion and camaraderie but also imbues every task and endeavour with a sense of significance and meaning.


As someone who has personally witnessed the transformative impact of "Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?" within my own team; I bought a copy of this book for each member of my team; developers, PM's, architects, support team, DevOps and cyber. I can attest to its efficacy as a catalyst for organisational success. By embracing the philosophy of marginal gains, clarifying objectives, and fostering a culture of relentless pursuit, organisations can harness the principles espoused in this book to navigate the turbulent waters of the business landscape and emerge as champions in their respective fields.


We would recommend reading, "Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?" it offers invaluable insights that transcend the realm of sports and are eminently applicable to the realm of business and organisational management. By adopting its principles of marginal gains, clarity of purpose, and unwavering commitment to goals, organisations can chart a course towards sustained success and achieve feats that once seemed unattainable. As I reflect on the profound impact this book has had on my team and our collective journey towards excellence, I am reminded of its enduring relevance and timeless wisdom in guiding organisations towards the pinnacle of achievement.

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