Just about everyone, including the intern, can perform the first 80% of any job assigned to them. That’s the easy part. (And it’s entry-level table stakes by the way.)
Think of painting a large wall. A relative novice can cover most of the middle section in paint.
Most people can and could go even to the next 10%. But many choose not to.
But the next and final 10% of any job from 90-100% becomes increasingly -- maybe exponentially in some cases -- harder.
Greater detail, more granularity and skill needed.
The hardest part comes when you get to the edges and the corners.
The final 10%.
This is where more eye for detail, care, effort, hard work, expertise, and a steady hand, is required.
So here’s the thing:
What if we put 90% of our effort into the last 10% of the job, the proposal, the product development, the manufacturing?
Because those are the little details, touches and flourishes your customers will notice most.
They’ll notice if you didn’t even attempt the fine brush work. They’ll notice if you didn’t go right up to the corner evenly. They’ll notice if you went over the lines. Or tried to save $2 on materials.
They’ll notice if you think you can get away with “good enough” because “good enough” is not good enough anymore.
Which reminds me of one of my favourite lines, from that great philosopher:
"It's not just good ... it's good enough!" - Homer Simpson.
The Last Mile is not very crowded, because many can’t be bothered to go all that way from good to great.
And if you don’t think the small things don’t matter, consider the humble full stop:
It may not seem much.
But it could be the difference between being No One and No. 1.