The 1% Factor

In his blog last week, Seth Godin wrote about the 1%. He said:

That's how many you get if you're lucky. One percent of the subscribers to the Times read an article and take action. One percent of the visitors to a website click a button to find out more. One percent of the people in a classroom are sparked by an idea and go do something about it.

Is this the new Pareto Principle (20% of the people account for 80% of the results)? What are the implications for you and me as leaders?

If Seth is correct, we’ll need:
More reach – This is one reason Michael Hyatt’s new book, Platform, is a best seller in the first week. I’ve already bought 25 copies myself. Today’s leaders have an increasing awareness of the importance of reach. Your ability to have broad influence is linked to the breadth of your reach. Based on the 1%, to reach 1 million with your idea, you’ll need to be sure that your message has been heard by 100 million! That will require reach.
More patience – Slow and steady wins the race. Some would argue it always has. That’s one of the messages found in Jim Collins' latest work, Great by Choice. The challenge is that many leaders are not patient. However, if Seth’s math holds true, it may take longer to get your idea out than you’d like. It will take longer to see change. It will take longer to gain momentum. The good news is that technology can help, but patience is going to be required.
More ideas – This is not a new thought. I’ve heard for many years that only a small percentage of new ideas are good ones. We probably know that from our own experience. But given the 1% phenomena, we’re going to need more ideas to extend our reach. We may even need to create additional “funnels” to move people to action. And as always, we’ll be in search of the idea that beats the odds – the idea that has much bigger adoption ratios than the norm.
We may not like the odds. We may not like the 1% reality. That's probably a good thing. Leaders are known for challenging the current reality and changing it. So, what's your response?[GLS_Shield]

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David Sparks

11 years ago

I'd heard something similar from a radio show host who quoted a similarly miniscule number about people who listen to talk radio, and those who call in to the show.
You're right about not liking the 1% reality. I have noticed that one of the greatest challenges while speaking is to convince people to actaully act. Most of the time people enjoy the presentation, and glad hand you, but seem to be disconnected from taking action.


11 years ago

David, I agree! The challenge in huge. I'm working hard on my "call to action" skills. I'll write more about this in the near future. If you have suggestions on this, please let me know. Thanks!

Michael Nichols

11 years ago

I love the way you think. I've read each of the resources mentioned in this post in the past 6 weeks. You know what they say - great minds... 😉 Thought-provoking post, my friend.


11 years ago

Michael, I appreciate your encouraging words! Thank you. Mark


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