Shared Wisdom

Is 80 percent good enough?

by Ken Hammock, Corporate Underwriting Consultant



Cynical as it may sound, most people do just enough to get by and rarely excel to their greatest. Yet, most business models suggest and expect the workforce to give that 110 percent effort.

110 percent? Really?

That expectation is not only ignorant but unrealistic and an impossible feat.

We expect people to put their hearts into their work, to break a little sweat in their effort and to complete the tasks they start. We expect people to be excited about what they do, to have energy, passion and desire to lead the way.

Consultants and trainers tout giving 110 percent, knowing there is no such thing. Business owners and managers follow suit and push for more, and more, and more. But in truth, when you give 100 percent you have given all you have. There is nothing beyond “all.” So, If you have given all you’ve got, to near exhaustion, and then you find that extra burst of energy, that burst is when you hit the 100 percent of effort that you are capable of.

I believe most people should be happy if they get 80 percent out of their team. Give a fair wage for a fair amount of work.

Considering a 40-hour workweek, at 80 percent that’s 32 full hours of productive investment. At 90 percent, that’s 36 solid hours.

How many of your team members, your staff, or even yourself would be tremendously satisfied to have 36 solid hours of work every week with no down-time? If 80 percent of your entire team put 80 percent into everything they did, how would that affect your bottom line? How much would your sales increase?

I personally put in about 50 hours a week into my profession. I consider that my full week. Does that mean I’m not giving enough? That is a question of priorities that only I can answer. I believe it is. The question is, do I give 100 percent to my profession 100 percent of the time that I have set aside for work.

Imagine a lawn care team who mows only 80 percent of each yard. Would the company ever reach its business goals? Will the company ever get paid? Would customer retention become a problem? Of course it will. And, you can forget ever getting a referral from the existing customer base.

Suppose you had a restaurant and your chef did not give her finest. Suppose the food was good but only in a mediocre sense. Or, suppose you, as the owner, cut corners on less that the best foods and the chef gives 100 percent. Your efforts subverted her efforts. Thus, the product is less that the best. There is nothing outstanding about your business if 80 percent is good enough for you or your team. Would you settle for 90 percent?

What separates a person or a business from the clutter is giving it all. Taking it to the brink of exhaustion and then finding that final burst of innovation, quality, effort, experience, or energy to break through. That is 100 percent you strive for.

Regardless of the product or service, giving the very best should be a standard. It starts with a commitment that you will give it all, all of the time.

* * *

Ken Hammock is a business marketing consultant for Radio Training Network, and serves 17 southeastern markets including 93.3 The JOY FM, Atlanta.

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