2023: The Year Of 1%

by placers on February 3, 2023 in Outside Insights


2023: The Year of 1%

As a culturally based leader in a culturally run organization, I work hard to ensure that our leadership team demonstrates business skills  that translate to personal skills. Today, work is not only defined by  the widgets produced on the job. Information, knowledge, and life skills (like problem-solving or managing change), are essential to navigating the “work world” which is constantly in flux.

Why work somewhere that doesn’t offer a culture that speaks to today’s realities? In life, there are challenges, problems, things that break, projects that get derailed, etc. If employees are given the opportunity to operate as knowledge workers, they become comfortable dealing with issues and challenges. They are empowered to lead.

I’m convinced businesses ARE more successful when they curate an environment where workers are smart, knowledgeable, and impelled to act or take risks that serve customers, solve problems, and somehow make things better. After all, knowledge builds confidence and self-esteem. Empowerment gives my front lines the backbone they need to do their work well.

Therefore, Placers’ workplace theme in 2023 is “The Year of 1%.” Collectively, we’re reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, a best-seller that unloads about a copy every 15 seconds. Atomic Habits is rooted in the idea that small, incremental, consistent changes and improvements accrue and yield big, impressive, lasting results. For Placers, this means we are identifying areas where we can make small changes in work processes. We are striving to improve as a teams. The practice of integrating small improvements transfers to personal lives, too. This means I’m adding value 24/7 to our Placers’ community.

The idea of being 1% better at something, like taking an extra minute to prepare for a call, making your bed, or talking to your spouse differently, has inspiring appeal. This year’s company theme doesn’t mandate huge changes – it asks for small adjustments that morph into better habits. We understand that if we focus on change, we will get results.

Consider this improvement concept and reflect on YOUR current habits. Are you giving YOUR BEST in everything you do or are you just coasting through meetings or winging presentations? Dial back the last 24 hours and be honest with yourself. Did you do all you could? Did you produce your best work –professionally and personally?

To have the life we want, the gap between where we are and where we want to be must narrow. There is a gap between what we want and what we have. Closing that gap takes time. It starts with small changes every day.

I’m not an expert on habits, even after reading Atomic Habits multiple times. But now, it’s easier for me not to feel the need to quit when things get hard or complicated. I don’t need to stay in my comfort zone. Recognizing 1% improvement as a significant step in the right direction is a doable strategy for me.

In business this is the magic of execution – getting more done, solving more problems, learning from errors, and living a risk-taking culture that encourages leadership behavior. I call it Nth Degree; taking 1% thinking to infinity. There is always something more we can do to be better. It’s my belief that many 1% gains add up to be a really big deal in the games of business and life.

Try these 1% challenges:

  • Read Atomic Habits
  • Consider yourself a knowledge worker and target skills that optimize thriving in today’s work world. 
  • As a knowledge worker, what do you plan to learn this week, this month, this year? This is on you. No one will do this for you.
  • Practice your day’s end review. Did you do your best? Where can you improve? (Everyday, I ask myself if I did some good in the world.) 
  • Realize you can make 2023 your year of 1%. It can be your mantra. 

One percent better can make significant changes and impact literally every facet of  life. For me, I can do 1% better by giving employees time back or empowering them. What is your first step in 2023 to improve by 1%? Let me know! I’m genuinely interested in hearing your feedback.

“Improving by 1 percent isn’t particularly notable – sometimes it isn’t even noticeable. But it can be far more meaningful, especially in the long run.”

                                                                                                                                                  – Author, James Clear

Until next time,


If you enjoyed this article, I recommend reading these past Outside Insights posts:

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (For Me)

The Importance of Knowing Yourself

The Greatest Holiday Gifts To Yourself:  Time And Space

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