Pat Riley is know as one of the most successful coaches in NBA history–not because he's always had the best players, but because he was committed to constant improvement.
In 1987, Riley told his players it would make a major difference to the team if all the players increased the quality of their game by 1 percent over their personal bests. This increase seemed ridiculously small, but when the 12 players each increased their performance by 1 percent in five skill areas, the combined efforts would make a 60 percent improvement to the team. A 10 percent difference would probably have been enough to win the NBA championship.
The result? Most of the players improved their individual games by at least five percent. Success came because everyone believed it was achievable. The sense of certainty in pursuit of their goals make them tap even greater potential.
-adapted from the Business Start Page
April 2009 newsletter, page 2