Does 1% Really Matter?

Curium | 21 Dec 2014 | News | General

Throughout a decade of business insight across various organisations, I’ve constantly witnessed people striving for 150% of x target and 200% of x kpi….

Quite often these people fall short of their BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal – Jim Collins) and often never learn any lessons from this journey.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m ALL for BHAGS – but they sometimes lack the structure and strategies needed to get the desired achievement or bring about the required change.

Put quite simply, if people applied a strategy on delivering an extra 1% and doing the basics brilliantly, then it could make all difference!

The Power of 1%:

  • The difference between Usain Bolts gold Olympic medal and second place was less than 1% in time
  • 1% extra on your savings interest rate throughout your life could lead to over a 30% higher retirement fund (the power of 1% and compound interest!)
  • The number of people suffering from starvation in the world would reduce by almost 1 million with a 1% reduction
  • Last year HM Revenue took £437 billion in tax receipts – 1% increase on this would have given the government an another whopping £4.3 billion

The Sky British cycling team call this concept ‘marginal gains’ – they are constantly looking for that extra 1% and given they have won seven gold’s at the last two Olympics, it clearly demonstrates the difference 1% can make.

And a 1% mind-set is not just relevant in business and sport – it can make a difference in your home life too…

Having used the 1% concept myself to achieve some success in the business world, I tried it out on my 7 year old daughter. I explained the difference I thought she could make if every day she just tried to give that 1% extra, we created a ‘1% handshake’ to make it fun and celebrate her wins at school and before we knew it her reading, writing and maths had come on leaps and bounds!

As this happened her commitment to learn and achieve also grew, including wanting to do her homework on Friday nights to my slight dismay!

I’ll never forget the day I walked through my front door after a long session in the office to be greeted by my grinning daughter…. First question she asked me was ‘so Daddy, how have you given 1% extra today?’ I realised I’d got that caught up in the tasks of the day that I’d not proactively pushed myself to give 1% more – at that moment I proceeded to my office and made a couple of calls to rally the teams up that were in work till late and also completed a coaching session over the phone with one of my direct reports. Sometimes all it takes is that little extra effort to make a difference.

My team at this time was circa 100 FTE – we had everyone tuned in and all aiming to give 1% more – 100 people doing that really starts to make a difference and gets you much closer to achieving a BHAG!

In summary, 1% is what separates the good from the great… so ask yourself, what changes do I need to make to separate myself from the pack – to get that 1% edge over the rest.

And what could you, your team, your business and your customers achieve if you give 1% more everyday…

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