Published January 23, 2015

We commonly hear the phrase “Do it right the first time”. Of course, generally speaking, who wouldn’t want to do that? Waste is bad. However, I’ve found that there is a time when doing it right the first time is NOT the path to success – when you hold off for perfection as your view of “doing it right the first time”.

We’ve all been there; however, for the future, think about following a new plan: “When you are 80% ready, move”. I heard my consulting mentor phrase it this way, and loved the simplicity! This week, one of my clients is experiencing a few challenges because he places an immense amount of value on doing it right the first time. Believe me, he is not alone. Think about this example: if you were to have to repeat a training session in order to start with “what is available” and follow-up at a later date with the optimal solution, it wouldn’t be doing it right the first time. However, if you would be addressing a critical gap in the process with a short-term solution so that you kept customers happy until the optimal solution was ready, would you do it? I’d celebrate the opportunity to do it twice!

One tip to implement this week:
Think about a decision you need to make where you are waiting for additional data or input. Do you have 80% of the critical information required? (Notice I didn’t say 80% of ALL information desired.) If you do, make a decision and move on. You’ll find that you’ll be much more successful. The last 20% requires 80% of your time with little to no improvement in the quality of the decision. On the other hand, waiting for the additional information can bring an undesirable result!