I am always struck by people who don’t move on things. They tweak and tweak and tweak and tweak a plan and pretty soon, the process becomes the project and the goal is gone.
Successful businesses realize that you have to build a 747 while you’re flying it. Meaning, as long as you know your goal, it’s okay to implement a plan before the plan is complete, and then tweak it as you go. It’s what sailors do everyday. They can’t take a direct route to get to their goal — the wind doesn’t allow that. So they tack back and forth, with that goal always in front of them, and they course correct as they go.
In working with a client recently, we are talking about creating an interim marketing piece using existing assets. So essentially, it’s a reworking and updating of what was done a year ago. A great strategy for saving time and money. And it allows us to market ourselves now instead of waiting for new materials to be developed.
But this client is saying that they want everything to be perfect and that we need to start from scratch. Given that this piece will be used by a marketing agency we hired, we’re paying them a lot of money to do nothing. So this strategy of creating something from scratch isn’t realistic. My recommendation is to create this interim piece that will serve its purpose for the next 3 months while we create the perfect piece.
But that’s a no go strategy according to the client.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Be happy with 90%.
While the 90% rule doesn’t apply to everything (e.g. I’ll never settle for anything less than 100% attainment of a sales goal), it does apply to major initiatives. After all 90% of something is a huge gain when you started at 0%.
So many managers want things to be perfect all the time. But there is no utopia. That’s why great managers realize that if they get 90%, they’re doing really well.
Truth is, that constant reinforcement of forward momentum gets you so much in return versus always striving for attainment of 100%. Because while you spend countless hours getting to that one goal of 100%, you could have moved forward and achieved 90% on five goals. And I’ll take that any day.
How are you building your 747 while you’re flying it?