The Impact of One Degree of Change

By Dieter Deuer

 Getting Your Operation Up to '0': The Impact of a Small Change 


In the world of business operations, especially the field of HR technology, the difference between stagnation and breakthrough can often hinge on a small adjustment. This insignificant shift, much like a slight increase in temperature, has the potential to unleash a profound transformation. In this Blog we explore this concept using the analogy of melting ice from James Clears book ‘Atomic Habits’ and discover how to navigate through challenging phases. 


The Analogy of Melting Ice 


James Clear uses a captivating analogy in his book ‘Atomic Habits"’ Imagine being in a room with an ice cube on a table. You gradually raise the temperature from 25°F, to 26°F then to 27°F…nothing seems to change; the ice remains solid. However, once you move from 31°F to 32°F, one degree higher, something remarkable happens, the ice begins to melt. That one degree shift may appear insignificant compared to the temperature increases but it triggers a significant transformation. 


This analogy beautifully illustrates the power of persistence. And emphasises that remarkable outcomes often result from consistent small efforts. 


Understanding the path to success 


Often, in contrast to our expectations, the path towards success is a curve. Initially when we implement changes or adopt technologies we anticipate linear growth. However reality may paint a very different picture.  


The early stage, where outcomes don't align with our expectations is referred to as the 'Valley of Disappointment'. It represents the gap between what we hope for and what actually happens. Now consider what might happen if we implement a 1 degree, or a 3 degree or 5 degree change? The point here is we see projects fail to adopt, or unfortunately stopped, because they were 2°F away from seeing the change needed. Had they persisted and kept going there would have been ‘the tipping point’ where the results become visible and grow exponentially. 

So what are the big reasons for not reaching this tipping point?  


There are specific factors we see in the world of Innovation and HR Technology that can keep operations stuck in the ‘Valley of Disappointment’. Here are the most common: 


  • Data (we will be posting a future blog on data where we will cover this in more detail): 
    • Data Accuracy and Integrity - Incorrect data or data input incorrectly (formatted or incorrect places) 
    • Data Silos - isolated pockets of data limiting a comprehensive view 
    • Data Overload – inability to discern which data is genuinely valuable and which is just noise 
    • Data Accessibility – missing considerations around the right balance between security and accessibility 
    • Legacy System Integration - older HR systems processing new data types or poor integration with newer tools  
    • Data Redundancy - duplicate data entries
  • Quality of Content in the Systems; whether its training materials, employee records or policy documents this needs to be relevant, up to date and easily accessible. Outdated or irrelevant content can impede progress, reduce adoption and result in inefficiencies.
  • Quality of Systems Infrastructure; a system that is not user friendly is slow moving and prone to crashes which will pose an obstacle to adoption. 
  • The overall structure of systems is crucial for operations to ensure the maximising of data integration and multi-system workflow synergies. If there is a lack of integration or well designed communication between systems it can lead to missed opportunities in efficiencies and employee engagement resulting in operational issues. 

As you can see we’re not talking about complex issues but fundamentals which are part of a standard operating governance. These areas are well recognised as important but can often be deprioritised in light of timeline pressures, new features or new critical priorities. 


So what do I suggest you can do about it today 


To move forward and improve your operations look for the one degree areas by taking the following steps: 

  1. Review and cleanse data regularly. Make sure that data entry and system handover points are standardised and implement checks to maintain accuracy. 
  2. Assess Content. Periodically evaluate the content in your systems by running active user reports and update any materials and eliminate redundancies. 
  3. Invest in infrastructure.  Give priority to your core systems by considering upgrades or optimisation. Ensure there is focus on user friendly platforms. 
  4. Integrate systems. Ensure that your HR systems are integrated into the flow of work, allowing for seamless communication and flow of data. 

In conclusion although the journey may come with challenges and moments of uncertainty, understanding the importance of persistence and making adjustments can unlock growth, adoption and ultimately success. Please don’t let these things be the reason you can’t hit the 32°F (Or ‘0’ as we know it in the UK). 


Why did we decide to write this blog? Vitro want to make a difference to organisations and help them maximise their investments and create an environment of innovation, and these simple principles may be the 1 degree you’re looking for. At Vitro we support and guide this process by setting out your clear route to achieve your ambitions. 

About the author


Dieter Deuer


Dieter is our Head of Technology and Innovation, he utilises his strategic leadership skills in Learning and HR to enhance the learning experience through streamlining processes. With over twenty years of expertise, Dieter has played a crucial role in harnessing technology to advance learning.



We need your consent to load the translations

We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details in the privacy policy and accept the service to view the translations.