Using the Staircase Growth Model to become a better version of yourself
By: Kyle Weber
September 6, 2017 | Reading Time: 3 mins
It’s 8 o’clock, Monday night.
I dust a few crumbs off my sweatpants before diving in for more Ruffles. I go one chip at a time to pace myself. I’ve got a lot of TV ahead of me.
Monday night is Bachelor night.
No, I’m not kicking it with the boys, I’m tuning in to Bachelor in Paradise to watch good-looking people make bad choices. My sister and I are behind by an episode, so tonight we’re in binge mode.
While BiP is the silver lining to my Monday, it can sometimes be a bummer. Yeah, the cast is full of train wrecks, but they’re also beautiful people on free vacations while I’m a bald guy spooning his favourite junk food. I’m smart, I have a job, and I have skills, but there are six definite things that separate me from the Bachelor alumni:
Abs 1 through 6.
After 3 seasons of Bachelor, I’m finally ready to make a change and I’m going to use a proven, structured approach to make it happen.
Introducing the Staircase Method
The Staircase Method goes by a few different names. Bootstrappers call it the Stairstep Approach. In Japanese philosophy, it’s called “Kaizen”, which is defined as the process of continuous improvement of practices and efficiency. McKinsey & Company did a deep-dive on Staircases of Growth, analyzing the ways mega-corporations like Disney and Coca-Cola have used similar methods to grow into new industries and markets.
Call it what you want, the Staircase Method is all about breaking long-term goals into more manageable short-term milestones. This perspective creates a more focused approach that reduces the mental hurdles caused by disorganization and unclear expectations. Additionally, this method encourages repetition to form new habits. These habits lead to increased efficiency that help us move from step to step at what feels like a reduced incline.
So, how can I use the Staircase Method to achieve my lofty six-pack goals?
At a general level, I can break it down into a 3-step staircase. In order to get shredded, I’ll need to burn fat, keep it off, and build muscle. Simple!
Not so fast. At this level, I’m setting myself up for failure. You climb the mountain a few feet at a time – you don’t focus on the peak. I need to break it down further into clear, measurable goals. I can do this by turning Step 1 into its own staircase:
By sticking to this rigid framework, I protect myself from vulnerabilities created by unrealistic expectations. Maybe this incremental approach keeps me from dying on an over-ambitious 5k? Maybe it keeps me from tearing a hammy! If Kobe couldn’t come back from that, what chance do I have?
Injuries aside, these short-term goals establish base fundamentals that come into play on later steps. Without the running, would I have the lungs needed to bang off the sit-ups in Step 3? Maybe the first step in development is learning to stick to a schedule?
Step 2 would be broken into steps like, “stop eating coffee cake”, and “stop melting cheese on all of your meals”. It won’t be easy. Luckily, the staircase model will allow me to look back at my accomplished goals, creating that “look how far you’ve come” motivation I’ll need to push further.
Step 3 is an ab-centric workout routine. This could have been the whole staircase but I would have been building muscle under an ever-growing layer of flab. Eventually, I’d get there, but Steps 1 and 2 put me on a more direct path to my end goal.
Whether it be building a new website, learning an instrument, or expanding your market reach, the Staircase Method to Growth is a proven model for success. If I trust the process I’ll be shredded by Christmas. Here’s hoping my systematic approach instills the fundamentals and dedication I’ll need to hold onto my abs until summer. Which way to the beach?