There are two problems with 99% of quick win projects. First, they tend to take longer and require more effort than you initially thought. And second, they generally fail to deliver the scale of improvement you were looking for.

In other words, they’re not that ‘quick’ and there’s not much ‘win’. After all, if the solution was that easy, you – or one of your competitors – would probably have done it already.

For any new solution, there’s always some level of trade-off between the potential prize and the effort to deliver. The truth is, though, that big, sustainable prizes require a big effort and will involve getting over (or round, or under, or through) some major hurdles.

In fact, it’s the barriers that make the prize sustainable. They make it difficult for your competitors to copy you, even when you’re delivering powerful results.

James Dyson took five years and over 5,000 prototypes before bringing his game-changing bagless vacuum cleaner to market. In the 1990s, Tesco experimented for six years with its Express convenience store model, before creating something that was both scalable and profitable. And while Alphabet, the owner of Google, currently delivers annual revenues of $280 billion, Google’s founders spent several years testing different approaches before settling on a pay-per-click business model.

So, if you’re after big, sustainable wins, and not just quick wins, take the time to understand and resolve the barriers in your way. You might just find that they’re not really a problem, but are, instead, a key reason for your success.

Off The Record: Spitfire by Public Service Broadcasting

It’s tiring always stretching for something that’s just out of reach

But I’ll get it

After all, what I want isn’t as easy as all that

It’s got to do 400 miles an hour

Turn on a sixpence

Climb ten thousand feet in a few minutes

And dive at 500 without the wings coming off