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Strategic Discipline Blog

1% Plan, 99% Behavior

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Aug 14, 2023

In November 2015 I began working with a small engineering firm located in the southeast. They had 24 employees and were just finishing that year at about $3M in revenue. Our two-day workshop set some aggressive goals to reach, setting their 3HAG at $9M by 2018.

In June 2020, a change of CEOs led to a decision to move forward without a coach. By then, they’d surpassed $10M in revenue, something they’d set as a milestone when we began.

Several weeks ago, I spoke to the former CEO I worked with. He’s moved into the CFO, and HR functions, and shared with me that in their just completed 3rd Quarter Planning session they’d achieved $10M in revenue and are confident they will hit $20M by year-end.

This company tripled in size in its first four years and now has doubled in the 3 years since.

1% Plan = 99% Behavior 1% Plan =99% How (Reality)-1Verne Harnish, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up author often states, “It’s 1% Plan, 99% Alignment.” Or “1% Plan, 99% Execution.”

Metronomics Coach Shannon Susko, states, “1% Plan, 99% behavior”

Behavior Never Lies.

As a newly promoted sales manager in 1983, I struggled with routine and discipline with my sales staff. I didn’t want to impose on them the restrictions I’d had when I was in sales, despite how successful I’d learned these helped me. So instead of requiring a sales process, expectations, and regimented sales meetings, I decided to allow them to find their own formula for success. Just like wild horses in a pasture without any boundaries, they ran free and failed.

1% Plan = 99% Behavior 1% Plan =99% How (Arrow)I almost lost my job that first year. The following year I required them to set goals, and most importantly activity goals. I made them put their goals on one side of a 3x5 index card, and then list the activities (system) they would follow to achieve their goals on the other side.

This discipline, along with meetings and training helped us crush our sales goal and develop 3 of the 4 members into leadership roles.

I’ve written several blogs about the value of compounding, including Strategic Discipline Harnesses Powerful Forces, and Strategic Discipline – Why It Guarantees Success. The story of my former customer reveals how good routines compound into continuous results.

James Clear shared this same principle illustrated in Small Habits Make a Big Difference – Atomic Habits, further magnified in Measuring ROI - Create Marginal Gains.

Metronomics - Climb the Mountain, Ease, Speed & Confidence (BHAG, 3HAG, 12 month, 90 Day) What may seem small at first magnifies over time. This small engineering firm built its daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual meeting rhythms, discovering its profit per X, deciding on its BHAG, then focusing on these to deliberately produce significant results. Their CEO had established the company’s 20 Mile March even before I became their coach (Open one location per year. Due to this disciplined approach, they’re looking to establish locations in New York, and Los Angeles having expanded beyond the southeast into the Midwest, Southwest, and East Coast.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

We all have routines we never think about. When was the last time you had to remind yourself to brush your teeth at night or in the morning?

When you develop good habits, they continue to compound the good they produce.

Verne Harnish notes, “Routine Sets You Free!”

Determine Your Behavior

In Eight Steps to Create Your Culture, David Friedman's very first step is to DEFINE employee behaviors (Freidman calls these Fundamentals) that drive your success.

Jim Collins Culture of Discipline - GreatnessAs a Scaling Up, and Metronomics Certified Coach, often the first quarterly priority many of my customers establish is Meeting Rhythms.

“A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.” ~ Jim Collins, Good to Great

Do you feel your business is stuck or can make progress faster? There are several tools you can use to discover what you are missing. A coach would help. Every great team and player has a coach. Great athletes today often have several. In the Netflix Quarterback series, each of the QBs had several coaches with a system to produce specific outcomes.

Scaling Up and Metronomics coaches specialize in developing the CEO and your leadership team.   We coach your team and individually meet with you to implement changes in strategy, execution, cash, culture, cohesion, and your human systems. Will help you build momentum.

How Fast Do You Want to Grow - M Game AssessmentHere are a couple of assessments to help you determine how you and your team are performing:


What Growth Phase Are You In



Four Decisions Needs Assessment Results Scores OnlyFour Decisions Needs Assessment


Four DecisionsNeed help establishing successful behavior in your business?

To create an environment where everyone is inspired to give their best, contact Positioning Systems today to schedule a free exploratory meeting.

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Nine Traits Define Mindset & Character for Hiring Managers - Danny Meyer Setting the TableHow do you hire managers? What do you look for? How does it differ from hiring staff? Next blog, we’ll dip into Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business to share nine specific traits he uses to define the mindset and character traits he looks for when deciding to hire managers.

Building an enduring great organization requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, superior results, producing a distinctive impact on the world.

Discipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.

4Dx Cadence of AccountabilityA winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics, and Meeting Rhythms.   Forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance improve dramatically.

Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

Let Positioning Systems help your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $500M+) businesses Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing! Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

NEXT BLOG – Nine Traits Define Mind-Set & Character for Hiring ManagersHospitality is Present when something happens for you Absent when happens to you - Danny Meyer


Topics: Culture of Discipline, human behavior performance, Company Culture, Business Discipline, High Performance Culture, 1% Plan, 99% Behavior, Behavior Never Lies

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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Positioning Systems Brand Promise

1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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