“Make it work, then make it better” – if you’ve followed us for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me use this simple but effective mantra when talking about improving (literally) anything in your business (and life).
Well, this “Plus Delta” is how you “make it better”. This straightforward, efficient practice will help you be intentional about continuously refining the things you do and how you do them. Let’s dig in…
Understanding Plus Delta
Plus Delta acts like a quick check-in for your business activities, breaking things down into two straightforward categories:
- Plus (The Successes): Here, you list everything that went well in your business activity, be it a meeting, session, or phone call. This side of the board is is all about recognizing the stuff you did that was successful, then being intentional about repeating these successful elements from that point, forward.
- Delta (Room for Improvement): This side is for honesty and growth. Here, you’ll identify what didn’t go as planned. Was there an objection you weren’t prepared to answer? Is there a gap in your pricing you didn’t spot (but your client did)? Did you (like me) say something dumb you want to make sure you never repeat? Put all that stuff on this side.
- While not part of a traditional Plus Delta, I like to add a third section to the bottom with my “Action Items”. This is where I’ll write out the things I plan to carry over that were successes, as well as specific plans for improving the things that didn’t go so well.
How to Use Plus Delta
Implementing Plus Delta is stupidly-simple:
- Prepare Your Form: Whether in print or digital format, have a Plus Delta form ready for use after any significant business activity. You can download ours by filling out the form on this page (but really… it’s a giant capital I with Plus on one side, Delta on the other and Action Items at the bottom… pretty simple to make yourself…).
- Reflect and Record: In the Plus column, write down the successes. In the Delta column, note down what needs improvement. Don’t worry about coming up with solutions to those problems here, you’ll do that in…
- Actionable Steps: Move your biggest successes down from your Plus column and choose the most important item from the Delta list and devise a concrete plan to address it.
- Review Before Repeating: Glance over your Plus Delta notes before a similar activity to keep your improvements top of mind.
Choosing Action Items
There’s one hard and fast rule I have for choosing an Action Item and it’s – you can only choose ONE. Not 3. Not 5. Not even 2. ONE Action Item from your Delta column. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed (and it makes it much faster to move that Delta over to the Plus column when you focus all of your attention on correcting that ONE item. So, how do you determine which item is The One?
I like to start with this question from the book “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller:
“What ONE thing can I do that, by doing it, would make everything else easier or unnecessary?”
In other words, pick the one item that makes everything else easier.
If one doesn’t immediately jump out at you, then ask yourself which item will get you the biggest improvement with the least work. These “low-hanging fruit” are easy to knock out and, as they improve, you’ll notice that they improve the bigger issues in your business, as well.
The Benefits of Plus Delta
- Consistent Improvement: It encourages you to make small, regular improvements, moving aspects from the Delta to the Plus column over time.
- Focused Approach: By targeting one key area of improvement at a time, it prevents feeling overwhelmed and ensures manageable progress.
- Deeper Insight: Regular use of Plus Delta enhances your understanding of your business’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Freakin’ Wind in Your Sails: Let’s be honest, sometimes we just need a freakin’ win. Plus Deltas give you an easy way to find those areas that you can improve immediately, putting some wind in your sails and helping you build momentum in your business.
Start Using Plus Delta
To begin making strides in your business, download our Plus Delta template (or draw your own “I” on a piece of paper…) and integrate it into your workflow. The aim is gradual, consistent improvement, not overnight perfection.
Take the first step towards streamlining your business processes with Plus Delta, and watch your business grow stronger and more efficient. Plus… freakin’ wind in your sails…