I wrote recently about being bold and taking risks. Focusing on profound change rather than incremental change is a related concept.

When you think about the work you’re doing every day, consider those activities that will be high impact versus those that will really just have incremental impact, and focus your energies on those that will create profound change.

For example, my clients will often tell me that they want to collect some new type of demographic data on their members, in the hopes of better targeting communications or marketing. This is good (and I encourage it!) but too often these types of demographic data collection activities focus on incremental change. The plan (it always seems) is to survey the members for this data. The problem is, the data we’re collecting will only affect a very small portion of our members, or we’ll only actually use the data infrequently.

In contrast, if the same association were to implement a systematic process for collecting inquiries from members and customers and categorizing these inquiries so that they could see trends forming over time, the potential for profound change is very high.

Do you see the difference between these two activities? One is an event (collecting demographic data) while the other is a process (collecting data over time, and with every interaction).

Incremental change produces incremental results. Profound changes produce profound results. Be bold, and be profound!