#3 Incremental Positioning: Baby Steps

Once you have ensured you can survive in a bad spot, how do you get to a good spot? It would be nice if we could go from a terrible position to a good position with one crafty move, however life seldom works like that. On the mats we learn instead to focus on improving our position just 1% at a time. Far less taxing.

As leaders, we must dream of success in leaps and bounds — we must see beyond the horizon to chart our company’s course. But success rarely happens in leaps.

The traditional path to opening a martial arts school is to lease a space, buy the equipment and open up shop. I launched my first school, a women-only Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy, kimonogirl,  with one Sunday class per week out of a tiny, remote yoga studio. One grew to two and two grew to five across three locations until we were presented with the opportunity to rent space from a big-box fitness gym in the most central possible location in Toronto, which is where I ultimately launched my current academy, OpenMat.

If I had gone down the typical path, I would have been out of business within weeks. The incremental path allowed me to build slowly until I had a small but solid, sustainable school. It was from that position that I attracted my first investor, enabling me to leap, launching one of the largest, most popular martial arts schools in Toronto.

Small, incremental improvement in our position led, in time, to an otherwise unattainable goal.

In The Art of War, they say you can’t make the opponent vulnerable — all you can do is make yourself invulnerable and build your position while you wait for them to leave an opening. And when the opening comes, you charge through “[with] the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain thousands of feet in height.”

You may not be able to take the #1 position in your industry today, but small, solid steps ensure you can make constant progress.

Have you been focused on big leaps or tiny steps forward? What are some small steps you can take to improve your position? How can you position yourself to – one day – take big leaps?