How to use the 100/0 Formula for your life and business

by Aug 13, 2019


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In the book “Stepping Up: How Responsibility Changes Everything” by John Izzo, Ph.D., businessman, corporate advisor, speaker, bestselling author and an advocate for a sustainable living he shares a story that sets the framework for a highly successful business organization focused on accountability. He writes:

In 1998, a relatively unknown bank, Synovus, was named the best company to work for in America by Fortune Magazine. Each year, Fortune compiles a list of the 100 best companies to work for, and to be named the very best among thousands of contenders is quite an honor. Given that I had never heard of the bank, I decided to do some research on this “best company to work for in America.” What I discovered was a one-hundred-year-old bank that had grown like a virus throughout the southern United States, a company that had fifty-seven straight quarters of double-digit profit growth and that was beating the pants off of much bigger banks in most of their markets. Needless to say, I was intrigued.


Three months later I was sitting in the office of the then CEO Jimmy Blanchard, a position he had held at the time for over thirty years. When I asked him what the bank’s secret was and why they might have been named the best company to work for in America, he offered a simple reason; “It is the power of love. We are successful because we love each other and we love our customers. When one part of this company cries the whole company cries with them. We love our customers and each other, it’s that simple” Then he set me loose to talk to others throughout the bank and its subsidiaries.


Over the next few days, I did hear an awful lot about love, but I also kept hearing people talk about a concept called 100/0. Finally, I asked a teller in one of the branches: “What is the 100/0?” She said “the 100 stands for 100% responsibility. You never say this would be a great bank if the CEO did his job, I’d have made the deadline if not for the other department, I’d be having a better day if my boss was nicer, or it’s not my job to take care of that customer. She said each one of us has to take 100% responsibility for ourselves and for the success of this bank since it is up to each one of us to keep this company great and keep the customers happy.” And the zero, she said, “that stands for zero excuses. There are always reasons you did not come through but at the end of the day, you work with what you have, so there are no excuses for not giving your best.”

In a meeting a day later I asked Jimmy Blanchard that if the secret to the bank was the “power of love” what’s with the “100/0?” He simply replied, “well I guess it is tough love.”

100% accountability/responsibility… 0% excuses! What a concept. If we lived our lives taking full responsibility for who we are, how we show up, and what choices and decisions we make, how might we be viewed by others and what level of empowerment and control would we have over creating our own realities of life?

So, what is accountability? In the simplest of terms, accountability is:

“Doing what you said you would do

As you said you would do it

When you said you would do it


There are no excuses for not doing what you said you would do when you said you would do it. Now, some might say that life is filled with “reasons” that cause us to pivot or get in the way of us fulfilling our commitments. I cannot argue that. The realities of life do get in our way. But in my world, there is a difference between an “excuse” and a “reason”.

So, let’s dissect “doing what you said you would do, as you said you would do it when you said you would do it…PERIOD!”. To have accountability, there must be an agreement between two or more people. That agreement can be explicit or implicit. But in the end, it is an agreement where one of the participants of the agreement commits, promises, and pledges to the other to do something. It is a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen. There is a deep level of trust and understanding between the two people. Without an agreement, there can be no accountability.

The agreement must be very clear and specific so that there is no misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what the agreement is and there must be an affirmation by both that there is now an agreement in place. For example, “I will meet you for lunch”. This is nowhere close to what an agreement may look like. Now try this… “I will meet you for lunch on Friday, August 9th at noon at Applebee’s Bar and Grill Restaurant at 2800 N. Main Street, Main Place Mall Suite 868, Santa Ana, California with just you and I attending”. Pretty clear! There is nothing that can be misinterpreted from this agreement to have lunch together.

So now, it is Friday and I am on a conference call at 11:45 a.m. which makes me late for my lunch appointment by 30-minutes. Is being on a conference call an “excuse” or a “reason”? In my world, it is an “excuse”.

An excuse is an explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault, offense or situation. More importantly, excuses are situations that occur that cause me to be out of integrity with an agreement that “I have some level of control over what happened”.

A “reason” is a cause, explanation or justification for an action or event where “I have no control over what happened”. In the case of meeting for lunch to fulfill the agreement above, being on the conference call that ended at 12:10 p.m. is an excuse. I could have ended the call at 11:50 p.m. I could have scheduled the call earlier knowing that the call would overlay the commitment of lunch that I had made. I could have scheduled the call for another day. I could go on and on as to what I could have done, versus the excuse I came up with to justify me being out of integrity with the agreement I had made. Most often an excuse is used to validate the priority necessity of being out of integrity with the agreement.

Now let’s say I left on time to get to the lunch on time, but I was stopped by a law enforcement officer for speeding. An excuse or a reason? Again, an excuse! I could have left early to make it to the lunch appointment. More importantly, I could have gone the speed limit to not get pulled over by the officer.

The same scenario of being late, but this time everything was going well until my car was hit from behind by another vehicle which causes me to be very seriously injured. I think most of us would agree that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this accident. Therefore, I had “no control” over what had happened. This is a “reason.”

Where I have control over what happens and I offer excuses, the ultimate consequence is a deterioration of trust. If I continue to make excuses for being out of integrity with my commitments, I ultimately loose being trusted overall.

Now, there will be times when I know that I will be out of integrity with fulfilling an agreement I have made.  When these times come, I don’t wait until the last minute to come up with an excuse or share a reason. At the earliest time of knowing that I will be out of integrity, I renegotiate the agreement and set forth a new agreement that replaces the old one. This results in a new expectation of commitment. There are no surprises in a true 100% accountability/responsibility, 0% excuses way of being.

So, if you want to live a life of integrity, if you want to be known as someone that can be trusted, if you want to model what it looks like to fulfill commitments, live a life of 100%/0%. Wear this badge as a part of your character. Be willing to hold yourself to the pinnacle of accountability without excuses.

Ask yourself these questions…

“Where are you out of integrity in your life?”

“Where have you used excuses to explain your behaviors of not doing what you said you would do, as you said you would do it when you said you would do it…PERIOD!”

“Where have you NOT held yourself accountable, but chose to come up with excuses?”

“And, more importantly, wherein your life is there a breakdown of trust due to your failure to stay in integrity with your agreements.”

Being in integrity with an agreement, holding oneself accountable and staying in the right connection with others through trust, and eliminating excuses can be a game-changer for anyone. It may be uncomfortable, and it will take practice to get into this new behavior. However, the rewards are enormous. Great success will come your way, relationships will be stronger and deeper, and you will be able to better use your time more effectively and efficiently. No longer will there be the stress of not planning for the unacceptable outcome, and no longer will you be out of integrity with your commitments.

As a side note, get yourself a lapel pin that reads “100/0”. Wear it everywhere you go… to your meetings, at networking events, at parties, everywhere… 100% of the time. You will be surprised how many people will not ask you what it means and how many more people will be curious. It is the curious ones that will enable you to spread this message…


For more information contact Marshall Krupp, Peer Executive Boards at 714-624-4552 or



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