Mullets, Big Ten Champions, and the 1% Rule

Yesterday, University of Iowa Wrestler (and FocalPoint Coaching of Minnesota’s favorite collegiate grappler) Sammy Brooks won his second straight Big Ten title, claiming the 184 lb championship. I’ll admit to paying more attention to Sammy Brooks than I usually do to college wrestling— not just because I am a proud Hawkeye (although that is part of it), but because of his amazing interview following his first B1G title last year. In the interview, Brooks credits his mullet, and it’s Samson-like powers, with giving him the strength and perseverance needed to reach his goals, stating that “You can’t grow a great mullet in a day, and you can’t win a Big Ten Title in a day.” Hilarious quote? Yes. True in many ways that he may not have realized. Absolutely.

Human hair grows, on average, at the rate of ½” every month. That means Sammy’s sweet flow took close to a year of hard work, patience, feathering and dedication. In that time (and perhaps even more important to the outcome), Brooks also put in the time on the mat and in the gym to get better, to work on his craft, to constantly improve, a little bit at a time. Throughout his career he committed to working on the little things that add up to big improvement. Brooks’ wrestling career, and his mullet, are a testament to what we at FocalPoint refer to as The 1% Rule.

The 1% Rule states that small changes, over time, can have a great impact on an outcome; this idea applies greatly to business. Great change in an organization, and great improvement in a business, rarely happens overnight. It takes work, preparation, planning. It means implementing many small changes that will add up to a great cumulative impact. Even making one small change can make a big difference. Say you have a $1.2MM business, averaging $100,000 in monthly sales. You set a goal for the following year to grow your business by 20%, which can sound daunting at first. However, if you can commit to growing that monthly revenue average by just 3%, month over month, for the entire year, you will finish with 22% YoY growth. A 3% growth curve on a monthly basis does not feel like much, but adds up to significant year-end growth. Now just think if you could make a series of consistent 1, 2 or 3% changes across all aspects of your business— what would the result look like?

The best part about the 1% Rule is this; the more you apply it, the easier it gets. Making an incremental change doesn’t need to be difficult, and therefore is an easy goal to accomplish. By accomplishing our goals, we feel good, we build momentum. The opportunities for small change are more easily recognized. The process gets smoother, the amount of energy and effort it takes to implement change is reduced, and the results happen faster. The concept of small change is committed to an organization’s muscle memory; it becomes rote. Your organization’s culture becomes one of Kaizen— the Japanese business philosophy of constant and never-ending improvement.

So what is your first step? What should be your one action item from reading this post? I would submit that it is to find that area where you can commit to making a small change in your business. Repeat that change over and over, and look for the next opportunity to do it all over again. Pay attention to the impact this activity has on your business, and see where it leads. If, however, your first step is to start growing out a mullet, I would say you’ve missed the point of this article . . . but I am excited to see the results!

If you want to chat about your small first step, or you just want to share pics of your sweet flow, send me a message on LinkedIn, or book a time to chat on my Calendly page. I’ll talk to you soon!


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