The 1% Rule — Adapted

A few weeks ago, Jim VanderHei in the Axios Finish Line newsletter published an article about Liz Jarvis-Shean, an exec at Door Dash and her leadership principles. While I don’t necessarily think Door Dash is a great role model of a company, I like the idea of pushing yourself to get just 1 percent better.  You can read the entire post at Axios although I’ve paraphrased a bit and added my own comments. Food for thought, at the very least, delivered by Door Dash.

What’s the 1% Rule? From Axios: It’s the idea is that you push yourself to get 1% better each day, in good times and bad. No one changes radically overnight. But everyone can get a tiny bit better at something daily.

  • “Hold yourself accountable,” Liz says. “Don’t just throw up your hands and say it’s not worth it.” This rule is a core value at DoorDash, she tells us.

From me: I think there’s a line between accountability and improvement. For me, this is a “yes” and “no” statement — that is, you have to examine if what you’re doing is worth it or the right thing. Sometimes, your choice won’t be the right one. There will be times when it’s totally OK to throw your hands up and say it’s not worth it! Where you hold yourself accountable is knowing the different. Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing. Usually.


From Axios: 2. Find yourself: You can’t guide others if you’re lost. Use tough moments to sharpen your commitment to the things that matter most. (Bonus if you share them confidently.)

From me: This is an important point, and it’s something that companies — and independents — don’t do enough. Just because you are a small company or work for yourself doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a core belief system. You should know what you’re willing to do — or not do — and what you want outsiders to see that you believe in. You don’t have to post these on your website, but you can. And there’s a lot to be said for going through the exercise on your own. You might surprise yourself (in a good way.)


From Axios: 3. Be real: “Nobody trusts a phony,” Liz says. “People can smell insincerity a mile away.”

  • In tough times, people crave clarity and directness. Deliver it. “Don’t try to be something you’re not.”

From me: True, but that’s not the same as innovating and stretching yourself. There’s a fine line. (I say this personally, not as a company. From a company standpoint, she’s 100% right.) There are differences to how you manage and communicate when you work solely for yourself and when you work in a team or organizational environment. The key is to recognize it. And this is where knowing your own values makes a big difference. You’ll get asked for some strange stuff. Know what you can and can’t do.


From Axiois: 4. Don’t hide: People too often let fear guide them to silence. Fear of screwing up. Fear of saying the wrong thing.

  • “A lot of people’s natural instinct … is to be very, very guarded,” Liz said. “I think there’s enormous power in transparency.

From me: Man, she nails this one.

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