After Ford purchased my auto salvage business, I worked for them for 18 months. My peers at Ford used to marvel at the way that I could get tasks done in a fraction of the time others needed. I was decisive, relentless, passionate, and results-oriented with a fierce sense of urgency.
But my real secret to super productivity was knowing something that eludes some people their whole careers.
I knew that in most cases 50% of the effort produces 80% of the results. Especially at large companies, before an initiative can start, teams devote hours to analyzing, noodling, thinking, discussing, meeting, and building models. You get the drift.
I would gather the relevant metrics and DO IT because I knew that I could always cycle back and make adjustments.
You’re never going to get 100% of the results on the first shot. I am not saying you shouldn’t give 100% effort. I am saying that usually speed to completion is more important than perfect accuracy.
In the real world, the competitor that does something imperfectly and adjusts gets further ahead of the person who procrastinates, noodles, models, and discusses an initiative to death.
In the real world, perfection isn’t worth what it costs.
I like to use a drag racer as the example. You know that you can go fast enough to drop your elapsed time by two seconds for $10,000 in hot rod adds. But after you make that initial spend, to drop the speed by a tenth of a second will cost you another $10,000. After $50,000 spent, to drop another half second, it will cost you $10,000 for every 5/100th of a second. Eventually, it will cost you $10,000 for every 100th of a second. After a while, the return no longer justifies the investment.
Most drag racers and business people know the Pareto principle. Eighty percent of your success comes from 20% of your efforts. Conversely, 20% of your customers cause 80% of your heartache.
Think Pareto when you design your next new initiative. Get some quick help from others. Use your gut. GO FOR IT. You will get 80% of the results you could have ever gotten had you agonized and discussed and modeled and delayed.
Spend 1 week instead of 5 weeks designing it, and get 80% of the results.
Now do that 52 times per year.
Or spend 5 weeks designing it, get more than 80% (but never 100%), and you will only get through 10 initiatives per year.
Yes, it can be exasperating, but also very satisfying. Yes, it will keep your staff hopping, but what’s wrong with that? Not everything you try will work, but how much more opportunity will you have to strike gold with 52 shots instead of 10?
By the way, no matter how much time you spend on design, you will always need to cycle back and make improvements. As you make the adjustments, you will be working with something the planners and procrastinators don’t get very often: data from the real world.
Remember only you can make business great!
REMEMBER ONLY YOU CAN MAKE BUSINESS GREAT!
Ron Sturgeon, Mr. Mission Possible, has been a successful business owner for more than 35 years. As a small business consultant, he can wisdom and advice gleaned from an enviable business career that started when he opened a VW repair business as a homeless 17-year-old and culminated in the sale of several businesses he built to Fortune 500 companies. Ron has helped bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, restaurant owners, and body shop owners, as well as, countless salvage yard owners to become more successful business people. He is an expert in helping small business owners set the right business strategies, implement pay-for-performance, and find new customers on the web.
As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plainspoken style, providing field-proven, and high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve. Ron is the author of nine books, including How to Salvage More Millions from Your Small Business.
To inquire about consulting or keynote speaking, contact Ron at 817-834-3625,
ext. 232, rons@MrMissionPossible.com, 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX. 76117.