The Last 15%

The difference between good performance and excellent performance comes down to the last 15% of the activity. It doesn’t matter what domain of our lives we’re considering – the rule is still there.

It’s sending a thank you email and testimonial request to the conference organizer who invited you to talk.

It’s sending a gift to a client who referred you.

It’s sending flowers and a card to your Mom on Mother’s Day and calling her.

It’s that intangible but palpable difference between mechanistic creation and art.

It’s giving silence an additional second to do its magic in a conversation.

It’s finishing the sales proposal within 2 days after conceptual agreement rather than letting it linger for a week.

It’s that additional interview that allows the right candidate to reveal herself and lets the bullshitter hang himself.

It’s the last two lifts of a set that you push through that fatigues the muscle.

It’s that additional rehearsal of a performance that allows your genius to come out because your body and mind have become regimented.

It’s putting the number of the person you’re meeting in the calendar event in case one of you are running late or need to cancel last minute that prevents you from scrambling or wondering what’s going on.

It’s sending the research document to your boss or client that includes summaries of important information rather than telling them to look at a link or a book.

It’s that additional hour that makes your barbecue ribs fall off the bone.

It’s taking the additional 30 minutes to write the plan rather than talk the plan to your teammates and hope they catch it.

It’s that one additional bedtime story that puts your daughter sound asleep rather than half-asleep.

I could go on, but the art of the last 15% is knowing when you’ve nailed it and when you’ve over-killed it.

Here’s your mission, should you accept it: practice finishing the last 15% of your projects, tasks, and activities this week. Yes, you’ll have to slow down, but if it truly matters, it being done excellently matters also. You won’t have to be sold on it next week.

If you’d like to go 15% more for me, click here to share this with your friends. (Thank you!)

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  1. says

    From your post, it is really clear that it doesn’t take much thought. Most people know they have done something well but are in a position to do it better. Some let, a few things here and there, stop them from doing well.

    With practice, this can be an integral part of someone’s life though – to always think beyond the finish line that we label as ‘normal’ or ‘what’s expected of me’.

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