100 Ways to Succeed #80:

The 1% "No brainer"

A strategic consultant taught me this years ago: "In the early afternoon, right after lunch, tell your participants, 'We're going to do a 30-minute breakout. Your task: Cut your current budget by 1%, no more and no less. Then we'll spend 15 minutes reporting back so that we all can get the hang of it. Anyone can do it. You will thus pay my fees 10 times over—and do yourselves a big favor.'"


I know all the arguments about the problems with budgets, across-the-board cuts, rolling budgets, etc, etc. Still, we all have cost issues. So whether you run a 2-person firm (or a one-person firm, for that matter), or a 723-person unit, this afternoon ... gather your leadership team, or everyone in the department, and take 1% (no more and no less) out of your budget-projected annual costs. As my colleague said, anyone can indeed do it—and it must not absorb more than an hour. Repeat now and again.

You'll be surprised how powerful this is—with a $100,000 projected cost, you can reap a $1,000 reward rather easily. (I do it with personal finances in particular.)

It adds up.