The 2% Rule

How many times have you heard someone at work say, “Oh, I’m working on that.”  Might be a coworker whose part of the project is affecting the rest of the team or a teacher whose students are waiting (and waiting and waiting) for papers to be graded, and the students are wondering:  Will he ever get them done???  (a sentiment heard from my own students over the years more than once!)

True Story:

Recently, while working in my CWAV (Cubicle With A View)…. (I call it my ‘cave’, but admittedly, the view is pretty amazing!), I overheard this conversation:

B (Boss):                      Is _____ here? (looking into cubicle)

C1 (Colleague #1):     No, she’s out of the building, but she’ll be back this afternoon (we’re freqently out working with teachers in schools or in meetings)

B:                                  I wonder if she got XYZ done ……

C1:                                I know she’s working on it …..

B:                                  I know she started it. The question is, will she get it done?? (and with that, Boss walked away)

As this 15-second exchange takes place, I’m tapping away on the LTTRW (Lifeline To The Real World…otherwise known as my laptop!), finishing up something that probably has a drop-dead deadline, but stop mid-tap to think about what I just heard…..
You see, with some people, I’d have found nothing weird about what B just  said;  However, C2 (Coworker #2), the one in question, seems to  always hit her deadlines.  You can count on her No.Matter.What.  Yet, B questioned  whether she would  complete  said task….. Interesting. (and probably not an unusual question for a boss to wonder)
A few weeks later, I was reading The Seven Minute Difference: Small Steps to Big Changes by Allyson Lewis, a book I reviewed briefly here.  Lewis presents actionable steps to improving your productivity in as little as seven minutes a day, which she says, will lead to BIG CHANGES (her emphasis). I don’t know about you, but anything that will support my productivity is a plus in my world!  🙂
In chapter six, Lewis describes the 2 Percent Rule, “common wisdom in the business community,” she writes, “that although many executives can move a project to 98 percent completion, only few actually finish the last 2% successfully” (p. 156).  Interesting! I suppose this is part of what distinguishes the successful from the ‘almost successful,’ or as Seth Godin calls it in Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable–Includes new bonus chapter, being remarkable
I think it’s worth saying again…..
*choosing*
to overcome the 2 Percent Rule
can set us apart ….
whether business, teaching,  flipping burgers, picking up trash, etc…., completing the task fully can set us apart.  And, it’s a conscious decision on our part.  Really? It’s that simple to be that remarkable??  Wow! 
Let’s stop and think about this for a minute….
Ask yourself: 
What am I currently working on?
How close to completion am I?
What will it take to move me to completing it?
How can I overcome the 2% Rule??
I find myself rolling this question around a LOT lately…. How about you? What will you do differently today?  
Have a wonderful Wednesday! 
Look for my first Friday Five this week:  Five Ways to Use  Social Media in Your Own Professional Development.      
~ Robin
Because learning is lifelong and boring is NOT an option!                 

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