The 1% Goal

03 November 2021

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

If your business target is to eat a cake the size of an elephant, how do you help your team achieve this?

One of the key responsibilities of any business owner is to set goals, for themselves, for their business and their team members. While most people recognise this responsibility, what they do not recognise is their responsibility to break down the goal into achievable chunks for their team members. This is critical to ensure that the targets set are not perceived as unrealistic or even distressing to employees. Remember, that your team needs to be aligned 100% with what has to be achieved because eventually, they need to deliver and then manage the targets. Often, a target is perceived as unachievable simply because it is in aggregate.

Break goals down into achievable chunks

The moment you break down the goal into bite-sized pieces, all of a sudden everyone starts to believe in the smaller targets being achieved. Your responsibility then remains only to make sure that the small pieces come together to meet or even exceed your target. The 1% goal is a handy technique to break down large goals.

a piece of cake

Imagine a situation where you have set a goal for your business turnover (sales) to increase by £500,000 over the next year. This could come across as a mammoth task to everyone, especially if you are currently a small business or have never seen annual growth as high as this previously.

Instead of inspiring the team, you will potentially have scared them. They will already be calculating the extra hours they will have to put in every week and the extra business they will have to bring on board to achieve this. Within this environment, where each team member is convinced that the target cannot be achieved, you will start by fighting against the tide of negative energy, till, most likely, your team convinces you that the target itself was unrealistic.

Instead, if you were to divide this goal as follows:

  • Break the £500,000 goal into 1% goals of £5,000 each
  • Break the 250 working days (approximately) in a year into 1%, that is 2.5 days

Now, to achieve your target, you need to make £5,000 of additional sales every 2.5 days. If the £ value of your average sale is £500, you simply need to make 4 new sales every day (£5,000/ 2.5) to achieve your annual target.

What you have done in the above 1% calculation is to turn the debate away from whether £500,000 of additional sales can be achieved and towards whether your sales team and you can together sell an additional 4 items a day. A number that will often seem a lot more palatable. This will not only put less pressure on your team but also on yourself.

When the leap from the ‘now’ to the ‘then’ is small then not only do things look more positive and achievable, the number of celebrations per goal achieved also increases. And it is a known fact that the more you celebrate success, the more it expands.

If your business target is to eat a cake the size of an elephant, there is only one way to eat it – one bite at a time!

If you would like to discuss any of the points covered here, please feel free to request a free call below.


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