Our Culture Series explores the guiding principles reflected in our company.
Please allow me a small preamble. I used to blog when blogging was new and all the rage. It started as an attempt to share and catalog my life and business experiences with the hope others may learn from both my opportunities and my mistakes.
But somewhere along the way, it started to feel too egotistical; it felt like I was writing for the sake of writing. So about ten years ago I stopped.
However, as I consider (and write about) the values driving the daily success of our team, my hope is not write just to write or talk just to talk, but rather to act with a willful desire for mutual success. This is a big part of our core values: Lead, Impact, Respect, and Simplify — they apply to ourselves and those outside our company.
Over the past 25 years of business, I have distilled certain lessons and experiences down to digestible maxims (or rules) and some of them have stood the test of time. For example, there is the Rule of 32, which I may write about in the future. But today’s focus is on the 5% Rule.
The rule is not complicated. Although uncommon in the world, it’s very common among highly successful companies. I believe it to be a lynchpin to true success and something I look for in everyone I meet.
90% of success comes from 5% of the work.
Let’s unpack what success means in this context: Success is hitting your stretch goals. Success is growing at a thirty percent rate instead of a historical five percent. Success is going into an almost impossible business situation and turning a pile of crap into a bed of roses.
Success is your customers noticing that you are profoundly different and even though they may not be able to fully articulate why or how you are different, they know they must work with you.
This last measure of success comes from near-flawless execution. Flawless execution, in the end, comes from one thing: the last five percent.
I could go on with examples all day, but you get the point.
It’s the last 5% wherein lies 90% of success — that’s impact. Average people can do the first ninety-five percent. It’s the uncommon person that pushes through the last five percent to greatness.
This is a huge part of what attracted me to dedicating my working life to this company. There is greatness here. The last five percent is here.
Here’s something to think about: What is the last five percent for you? Can you identify the last five percent in yourself, in your work, in your coworkers, or in your customers?
When you are in a meeting over the next week, will you have an ah-ha moment and say, “THAT’S the last five percent … Right there!” Call it out, write it down, and talk about it. It’s good to publicly recognize excellence.
Always hope, never give up, encourage others, rise above, and achieve more than you thought was possible.