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Are You a Ten Percenter?

The difference between outstanding and ordinary is usually less than 10%. This simple fact can be used by anyone interested in high performance.

Headteachers, Senior and Middle Leaders, Teachers, Support Staff and Students can apply this to quickly achieve the performance levels they desire, personally and for their organisation.

Once you accept this it can motivate and drive you towards high performance.

So what’s the problem? Well our experience and research from working with both ordinary and elite performers in business, education and sport has shown that many leaders and managers just don’t know how to energise, direct and engage their people.

They can’t gel them into a team that has a clear purpose, set of goals and a way of working that involves everyone and encourages them to collaborate to deliver stretch targets.

There seems to be an acceptance of mediocrity or a mindset that says it’s just too hard or isn’t conducive to making small changes that will have big results. Einstein allegedly said,

The first sign of insanity is to carry on doing the same things, and expect a different result.

Yet we see so many leaders and managers doing just this. They might work harder or faster but just keep doing what they have always done.

So what might be some of your current pains and which may be keeping you up at night?

  • Your students aren’t making the required progress.
  • Enough of your lessons aren’t good or outstanding.
  • Your leaders, teachers or support staff aren’t all on board with your plans and their priorities don’t seem to be aligned with yours.
  • They do not all perform equally well and are not consistently delivering against what’s needed or expected.
  • They are resisting changes you want to make.
  • You are working long hours for too little reward.
  • Your staff turnover and absence figures are too high.
  • You are fed up and it isn’t how you want things to be.

Do any of these resonate with you? If so there is a simple answer. Change what you are doing! How you think, behave and act. And if you are a leader you may also have to change your people or change your people.

But the good news is the level of change only needs to be small to get a big overall result.

This becomes even more powerful when we combine it with the Pareto Principle and the work of Dr. Joseph Juran, a management specialist who brought forward the idea of the ‘vital few and trivial many’.

In 1906, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto created a mathematical formula to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in his country, observing that twenty percent of the people owned eighty percent of the wealth. It was Juran who named it the Pareto Principle much later in 1940 and it has become a general rule that twenty percent of something is always responsible for eighty percent of the results.

But it is the idea of the vital few that is so powerful because in reality only a very small number of things will determine your success.

Yet many of us focus on a wide range of things, including the trivial many, allow ourselves to be distracted and in many cases don’t know our vital few.

So what are your vital few and what can you do to raise performance against each of them by just 10%. The cumulative effect of this will move you to high performance and outstanding results.

This is our specialism. Helping you identify your vital few and then working with you to raise performance by small margins in each of them for a big impact.

Remember the difference between mediocre (or requires improvement) and outstanding is very small and an outstanding school does not have to be better at everything – just it’s vital few.

Imagine the impact on results if school leaders were able to

  • Get 10% more discretionary effort from everyone.
  • Improve lessons by 10%.
  • Improve exam results by 10%.
  • Reduce turnover and absence by 10%.
  • Spend 10% more of their time talking with and motivating their teams and improving staff motivation.
  • Improve their leadership skills by 10%.

I am sure you can add your own and work out what might be the vital few for you and the cumulative impact these 10% improvements would have on overall results.

The biggest challenge is to understand the inputs you need to focus on to deliver these outputs and to generate the right mindset, thinking, behaviours and actions. And that’s where we come in.

It’s all about developing the right daily habits and removing those that get in the way or hold people back. Showing leaders and managers how to do this and building long-term sustainable change is the only way to go and is why so much training fails.

With the right approach these changes can be made simply and effectively and enable managers and leaders to be outstanding performers. It is within everyone’s reach and just needs releasing.

If outstanding outcomes are your aim then get in touch and see how we might be able to support you and shortcut your path to the results you want.


Or call 020 3303 0496.