The last 10%

When I was in my younger years, I had a manager who always challenged me to question my work. If I thought I was done and ready to share my work, he would ask, “are you sure you’re done?” or “is it good, or good enough?” I would have to choose one, and if I said it was good, I’d better be darn sure because he would go through it a lot more thoroughly to see if it was truly good or good enough. He was in tune with my strengths and knew what I was capable of. Some might say it was harsh, but it was a great life lesson (other than when you use that theory when you have kids and a messy house and can’t keep up with life – then some things are just good enough!!).

The whole idea of putting in extra effort was something I had seen many times in my life even before I had this manager. My father is very much ‘110%-er’, a ‘give it your best and don’t give up’ kind of guy. So, it’s not foreign to me to think about my work, and about the quality of work I am producing.

Now in my adult life (especially, as a mom), I always have this dilemma about whether my work is good or good enough. Like I said before about having kids, I sometimes many times daily(!!), must let some things go as good enough! BUT, in business that last 10% is so important for repeat business and referrals!

We recently had a company come to our house to open our pool. They are a great company, and we have been working with them for years. Usually, we have no problems at all. I am not sure if they were having a rough day or what? We have a winter cover where the leaf debris builds up on top of it, so the leaves have to be scooped off the cover while draining the water. We offered/asked them to scoop the leaf debris onto a tarp for us (for easy clean up after the job was done). One of the guys told us not to worry that he would pick it all up by hand after. “Wow, and gross!” Is all I could think. They got through the whole opening of the pool, connected all the equipment, and turned our hose on to start topping up the level of the pool. The guy was picking up all the piles of leaves (with his hands, like promised!!!) and I was feeling really good about continuing to support this small business. At one point I noticed that all of their equipment was gone, I checked the front and found their truck gone too. But when I went into the backyard again I found our wheelbarrow full of leaf debris sitting beside a pile on the ground, and still another pile about 10 feet away! WHY?? I asked myself. They picked up three other leaf piles, I guess filled the wheelbarrow – then they were stumped!? Why would they not have asked if they could dump the wheelbarrow somewhere so they could finish the job to the ‘good’ standard, not ‘good enough’! It makes me so aggravated when companies can’t see the value in that last 10%! If they had asked about dumping the leaves and finished what they told us they would do, it would have been fine!

It’s like getting a bunch of coffees for friends from the local coffee shop. There are some employees that would just fill the cups, put them in a tray and hand them to the customer to guess which coffee belongs to which friend! The employee that thinks a bit more about the ‘good vs good enough’, will take the time to label which coffee has what in it! Making life sooo much easier for the customer!

The same thing can apply at home with cleaning – Hey! I am not for a second suggesting you need to stay up all day or all night cleaning until it’s good, not just good enough! If that were the case, I think everyone would go crazy! BUT, if you are doing the dishes let’s say…after pulling the plug on the dirty soapy water sink, there are bits of food and soap residue left behind. Why not take an extra bit of time and just quickly wipe out the sink and get rid of the scuzz that’s left behind? That way it’s a clean sink left behind – it’s good, not just good enough!

It’s another way of thinking about your clutter around the house! Instead of just putting something in a temporary place before it gets to where it needs to go, if you have time, you can take it right to where it belongs! It might take a bit longer, but at least it’s now ‘good’ and not just ‘good enough’!

Over time it’s all these little finishing touches, or not accepting the ‘good enough’, that makes a difference. It’s that last 10% that really has the biggest impact on the house, or on a job, and especially on yourself.

Thanks for coming home!

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