5: THE 10-80-10

"Our society tends to overrate the importance of just talent. But not a single starter for either team in Super Bowl XLIX was rated a five-star recruit out of high school. DFI recognizes how much developing human potential is out there. Teams, families and communities are starved for powerful young men who make a difference." 



DFI runs on the 10-80-10 principle: The Top 10 percenters are the nucleus of an organization. They give all they've got, all of the time, and are the essence of self-discipline, self-respect and the relentless pursuit of improvement - the elite. The 80 percenters are the majority who go to work, do a good job, and are relatively reliable. They are trustworthy and dutiful, but don't have the drive and unbending will of Top 10 percent. The Bottom 10 percenters are uninterested or defiant, coasting through life, not caring about reaching potential or the honoring gifts they've been given. The Bottom 10 are often referred to as 'coach killers,' because they suck up all the time and attention, with little to no output or progress. 

The goal of a leader is to provide a center of gravity that exerts a pull - attraction and energy - that aligns the trajectory of everyone around him. In other words, your leadership gets every person, every player and every unit on the team going in the same direction. So this requires the right amount of leadership energy.  

Too much energy, too much pull = impairs developmental momentum and slows others down. Micromanagers are often too heavy-handed, or too harsh. The result is disconnect, discouragement and demotivation. 

Too little energy, too little pull = players spin off in all directions. Standards are unclear. Nobody is accountable. Players may say they like lenient, soft, friendly-all-the-time coaches - but they won't play hard for them. Nobody succeeds in an undisciplined culture. 


So how do you get the perfect alignment? First, communicate your purpose and your culture with exceptional clarity and relentless consistency. Second, make it clear to your leaders that it is their responsibility to build and maintain alignment and equip them with essential skills. Third, hold everyone accountable. If someone is out of alignment, deal with it quickly and decisively. 

We are constantly looking to improve our 80 percenters, and move them as quick as possible into the Top 10. Leaders spend most of their time on the 80 percenters around them. Top 10 percenters motivate themselves and bottom ten percenters are not worth wasting energy on.