Thursday, March 31, 2011

90 Percenter

A few years ago when I was running my own  computer store in a little town of 5,000, a good friend/mentor was running a auto body shop. One day at lunch, he was describing a dilemma he was dealing with in his business. He began discussing one of his employees by saying he was dependable, hard working, and  easy to work around. I could sense the impending "but".

"But",  he continued, and he began airing his frustration with the body man's finish work.

The guy could disassemble the car, perform structural repairs, straighten frames, weld, bolt on new body panels, and all the heavy lifting parts of the job. But  when it came down to the fine details of bondo or fiberglass, filling, sanding, and preparing to paint, he seemed to come a bit short. The owner said it seemed that "aww, that good enough" seemed to be the sentiment on detail work.

The owner said he spent hours on end showing him the process, sanding, smoothing, test painting, sanding again until it was right. But turn him  lose and the car would have obvious high and low spots after being fully painted and clear coated.

The owner then said something that caught me off guard, "I give up. I'm beating my head  against a wall with him." I thought  for a second he was about to tell me he was going to fire the bodyman. But instead he said,"I have just realized he is a 90 percenter and that is all he is going to do."

After earnestly trying to coach him through the last 10 percent of the process, he had realized  it just was not ever going to happen. So why try to continue to fight it? It was not accomplishing anything. It was just frustrating the owner and aggravating the body man. So, the owner decided to let the body man do the 90 percent, and then the owner would finish the job himself.
Are we guilty of being a 90 percenter? Are there areas of life where we decide, this is too much work, I am not going to put a full effort into this, this is good enough. Is an incomplete effort really good enough?

Colossians 3:22-24 says,
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Can we really be 90 percenters? Is anything we are tasked to do open for just good enough? Are we 90 percenters with our friends? Are we 90 percenters with our families? Are we 90 percenters in our marriages? Are we 90 percenters in our jobs? Are we 90 percenters in our churches?


irondad said...

Nothing less than 100% which really annoys some people around me.

Great food for thought.

Mrs Road Captain said...

I figure anything worth doing is worth doing RIGHT.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Madding:

I have had my fill of working for shitty companies and bosses who were dumber than stumps. That passage in the Bible should read, "Slaves... Rise up and throw your masters to the dogs. Let their screams be the message of mediocrity.

In truth, I am a lousy writer. The older I get, the more words I misspell. Furthermore, I am more inclined to wander away from the laws of parallel structure or even to repeat myself from one paragraph to the next. I cannot write one piece a day, if I am expected to proof my own work. I need two days to let the work settle... And three days to find 98% of the mistakes in it. A good proofreader can boost my productivity by 100%, by letting me do the literay heavy-lifting, whle a professional with a focus better suited to the sanding gets the annoying details out of the way. To me, that's just tighter time and talent management.

Am I wrong?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

For the first time, I think I might manage to piss you off.

JD said...

WOW. Thanks for that challenge today, I really need to hear this from some one else. I woke up this morning and just didn't feel like I give 100%, it was like I simply just wanted to make it to the weekend. Thanks for the challenge and some motivation to give today my all.

Allen Madding said...

Irondad -somehow I suspected as much

MS. RoadCaptain - boy I heard that a lot as a kid, but then found some jobs that weren't worth doing.

reep - suprise. I don't get po'ed by having differing opinions, only we folks want to hurl insults because we have differing opinions. My wife is my best proof reader. I never turn in a paper for school until its been subject to her pen.

From reading your work, I find it hard to believe you do not put in 100%.

JD - I don't know if the challenge was meant for you or me, but glad it helped.