“A 1%er Can Change Everything”

By Rod Olson
"Are you a 1%er and creating 1%ers?"
"You don't need to be twice as good to get twice the results...you just need to be 1% better."
-James Clear
Recently, I spent a day in Austin, Texas working with and teaching executives. The topic of my teaching was "5 Uncommon Commitments of 1%ers"! You see, they were having a problem getting to the 'next level' as an organization. They are highly successful, operating in the top 10% of their industry, but the President of the company asked me to help them get to the top 1 or 2%.
No problem. We can do that in a few hours. Sure.
Being realistic, I told him let's take the first step in the process of being elite and that will be to raise our self awareness as leaders and recognize a few things that uncommon leaders or 1%ers do on a daily basis and challenge them to start there. Here are 4 of the 5 things I shared with them. By the way, a 1%er in my terminology is a rarity. 90% of leaders today can motivate people and keep things running at least at an average level on a day to day basis, while 7-8% of today's leaders can make people a little better. But 1%ers are a rare breed. Not only do they perform at a high level themselves...they also affect company or team culture and they raise everyone else's production levels around them. They are truly Legacy Builders.

5 Uncommon Commitments of 1%ers
  1. 1%ers are committed to Leading Themselves first. The starting point in leading others well is leading yourself first.
  2. 1%ers are committed to a Vision and lead with Clarity. Elite leaders know every team has a culture by design or default.
  3. 1%ers are committed to having a bias toward Action and Initiative. Great leaders embrace conflict and engage in it with respect, empathy and care for others.
  4. 1%ers are committed to Coaching themselves Hard. Top performers have people hold them accountable to ensure results and more importantly, growth. Elite leaders ask themselves hard questions and solicit feedback from others on their leadership performance.
  5. 1%ers realize the world says 90% of your people's issues are head problems, but 1%ers know 90% of your people's issues are usually a heart problem. So much of leadership today is focused on fixing people's minds and how they think or do things, when the core issue is their attitude or what's going on in their heart. 1%ers coach the heart.


Perhaps the greatest deterrent of being a 1%er is a lack of hunger and a commitment to excellence. It's not about comparisons, it's about truly striving for a level you've never been to on a daily basis. It's about getting 1/10th of 1% better everyday...Kaizen!