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September 14, 2015

Companion Habits for Doing Your Best Work

For your best work - do the second part of the job and finish the last 5% of the job. 

Do you want to find the best people to help you? Make sure they do the second part of the job and finished the last 5%. Do you want to do the best job? Do the second part and finish the last 5% of the job.

Every job has two parts.

I had some work done on the house replacing some wood that had become worn. The first part, they did a perfect job replacing the wood, couldn’t have been better. The second part, clean up and protect the house. They failed miserably with the second part. They left a mess. There were scraps of wood and paint on the grass, the flowers were trampled, and worse, there were deep gouges in the wood from the ladders. Not so good.

If you want the best, every job has two parts. A good doctor diagnosis and treats disease correctly, the best doctor does this plus has a caring personality. A spin class instructor may have the best music and routine, but lack the second part of creating a positive social interaction in the class. A good plumber fixes your sink. The best plumber fixes your sink and doesn’t trample mud on your floor, doesn’t leave grease on the cabinets, and doesn’t scare you. You need help clearing two feet of snow from you driveway? The good snow remover removes the snow from the driveway. The best removes the snow from the driveway, doesn’t plow the snow into your neighbor’s yard, clears the sidewalk, and cleans the edges.

Look at your work. Do you do a good job or do you do the best job? There are two parts to every job. Know the second part, do the second part, and you will be the best.

Finish the last 5% of the job. 

My friend Bob owns a construction company and told me the first 5% and the last 5% of building a house are the hardest. Review your experience, is he right? Yes, he is. Finishing the last 5% of any job separates the best from the average.

My wife, Joan and I watched two houses being built during our Sunday morning run along our neighborhood route. They were beautiful, majestic homes. They were both built quickly during several months. However, for months after building the first house, the street sidewalk remained in total disrepair from the construction, and the small strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street was mud. For the second house, again several months after “finishing” the job, the protect-the-environment-straw bales were spread throughout the street and neighbor’s lawn. Both of these last finishing touches will remain there for several more months or even longer. For another new house at a different part of our run, the owners took two years to clean up scraps of wood and finish a tiny strip of landscaping in front of their new house that was built in less than a year. These minor details may not bother some people, but the job wasn’t finished. And this issue occurs every day in our businesses and social lives. What about the husband who takes out the trash bag, but doesn't put in a new trash bag in the barrel, leaving this annoying job for his wife? Examples are everywhere.   

My friend Scott told me about his experience with the last 5%. He was a furniture mover in the past and experienced two situations. When two crews did the work, if the first crew only moved the big, obvious items, it took the second crew twice and sometimes three times longer to find, load, and pack the last 5% of small random items. If the first crew, moved what needed to be moved including extra nuisance items, the total job took half as long and cost half as much. Secondly, when homeowners left loose pieces scattered throughout the house in the attic and basement, it took more hours to finish this last 5% than to completely empty the entire house resulting in higher cost to the homeowner. Completing the last 5% saves money too.

Look at your work. Do you complete the job? Do you leave tools scattered throughout the house after minor repair work? Do you clean up after making a mess fixing something? At your work, do you stop at the last 5% of the job and go home? Do you let your associates or friends finish the last 5% of the project?

Finish the job every time. You will have the satisfying feeling of doing a great job, even if no one notices, and you won’t have the lingering, unsettling feeling of a job not quite finished. Second, you will be more successful in your overall work and social interaction. Do the last 5% of the job to be the best.

Take action:  Everyone needs to take action for doing successful work. Do the second part of the job and finish the last 5% of the job.

Gary Epler

Best-selling author of “Fuel for Life: Level-10 Energy

Epler Health






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