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Stop and launch at 80%

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

“We’re going to launch our pro­­to­­types at 80%,” the executive said to 300 high-level scientists and engineers. Reasons behind the decision included budgets, volume of work and time frames. I could hear the concerned murmurs through­­­­out the room from those uncomfortable with this new approach. As I waited in the wings to deliver my own program, I be­­came focused on how these words ring true for you as well.

As administrative professionals, you often are responsible for the execution of deliverables, projects and events. These can run the gamut from orchestrating a three-day off-site meeting to writing correspondence to team members. Because you want your work to reflect well on you, perhaps you spend time rewriting a sentence more than once or perusing menus a few times before making a choice. Instead, stop and launch at 80%.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging you to send out work with typos or to haphazardly create a report. What I am en­­cour­­ag­­ing instead is simply to be aware of your own tendencies to continue to tweak something to make it 20% better. And I’m going to take my own advice. Last week I caught myself spending almost 20 minutes searching for a particular stock photo to include on one PowerPoint slide. Enough already. Stop and launch at 80%.

Everyone is expected to do more with less and the only way we’re going to survive and thrive is to stop at 80% and then move to the next task. This approach may require managing others’ expectations. Your supervisor may not realize all the extra time you spend working through lunch or after hours to create a specific report. I encourage you to say, “In order to create such a detailed, visual report it takes about X hours. As our demands grow, do you still want me to invest this much time or would you prefer I scale back on the images and supporting information?”

For some perfectionists, this may be a challenge. So focus instead on how much more you’ll accomplish and go launch!

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