A case study in the power of the 1 percent change

A case study in the power of the 1 percent change

John Longmire is the current coach of the Sydney Swans.

The Swans are one of the best teams of a unique game called Australian Rules football.

After they won the competition he gave a speech where he reflected on why the Swans became premiers.

Here are his key points:

1. Its a continuous journey.

I quote.

It’s crucial to raise the bar every year and even raise it from week to week.

2. The way to do this is via the ‘one percenters’

The “one percenters’’ are the actions that footy coaches value so highly.

They’re the small actions on the field that amount to a lot.

We count the tackles laid each week by the likes of Jude and Ryan.

We count the spoils when Ted Richards or Heath Grundy get their fist to the ball to stop an opposition forward marking.

We count the smothers.

We count when one of our players blocks an opponent, to help his fellow midfielder get a clear path.

3. The one percenters add up and make a real difference

We believe they’re the most accurate measure we have of players’ efforts of whether we’ve had a real go that day.

So, early on last year, we found that as a team, we needed 175 of these “one percenters’’ every week to give ourselves a strong chance to win the game.

It was going well, but the players felt we could, and needed to, do better.

Jarrad McVeigh (the captain) came into my office one day and said we want to make it 200.

And they rose to it, and we got to 200 a couple of times during that period in the middle of the season where we won nine consecutive games.

Then we set a new benchmark – our best for the year was 245 one percenters.

That was pretty remarkable.

So we thought if we can hit 245 in the Grand Final we’re a massive chance to win.

245 … it was nothing.

In the Grand Final, the players achieved 333 one percenters, over a third more than ever before.

Almost every player had double figures, and some had more than 20.

The effort of our 22 players that day was off the scale, you couldn’t have wished for more.

Needless to say in a very close game they won the grand final and the premiership.

4. Most performance limits are self-imposed

We had to get better again and push ourselves beyond what we might think are our limits.

We thought 175 one ‘percenters’ was enough.

Who knows what would have happened if this wasn’t challenged by the players’ desire to improve.

The implications for leaders:

I believe that the performance of any individual and team can be improved through the use of the 1 percent change framework.

It becomes a framework to encourage everyone to get back into the habit of performing at a higher level.

In fact, the new mindset is higher performance rather than high.

It becomes more of a continuous journey.

Achieving the 1 percent individual and group goals is one of the best ways of creating and celebrating small wins.

And the continuous flow of small wins is the ideal way of changing a culture.

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