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Make It Happen Tipsheet
Career Management and Life Balance

The 1% solution

Nowadays, very few people get excited about collecting pennies. This isn't particularly surprising: even after finding 100 of them, you can't even buy a coffee at your local Starbucks. Unfortunately, this attitude of ignoring the pennies causes us to think of ALL "small" things as not making a material difference.

Some small things DO actually make a difference. Consider: what if a surgeon only did 99% of their surgeries correctly? Or a pilot landed the airplane safely only 99 times out of 100? As the patient on the operating room table, or the passenger on the plane, that particular one percent is very material indeed!

On the other hand, what would happen if we looked for a 1% improvement in ourselves each day? Simple math suggests that in about 3 months, we will be twice as good as when we started!

Whether you are a perfectionist (like the surgeon or pilot), or are keen on continuous improvement, these "pennies" do add up, and increase your value as an employee.

This week's action item: Choose an aspect of your current job, and write down one week's worth of 1% improvements. Then each day, "add" a new improvement to your daily schedule. The next week, choose another aspect of your job, and repeat.

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Make It Happen
Copyright 2006 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved. Publication date: May 2, 2006