You’re not the expert until you can master the last 5%.
A lot has been written about the importance of the last 5% of anything. What good would a movie be without the last 10 minutes? That’s where everything gets wrapped up, can be the most suspenseful and exciting, or is where clarity is provided about everything that has taken place in the first 110 minutes.
Or what about a marathon runner on pace for a personal best on 42 hard km’s. They’ve trained hard, likely for months or years, sacrificing other pleasures as a discipline to reach their goal. What if they let up for the last 2 km? Even worse they stop, called a cab and head home! Hundreds of hours of training and 40 km in they just call it quits.
But those things don’t happen often, do they?
Why would we highlight this as something important?
The truth is that you’re not the expert until you can master the last 5%. I’ve reviewed seemingly countless projects begun with fervor, carried out with passion and dedication, and then dropped when it was so close to being awesome. Instead, it ends up just being good. Jim Collins in his book Good to Great says that “Good is the enemy of great.” I’ve seen good (and been guilty of providing it) thousands of times.
But now and then you find someone who uses the last 5% of their time to really wrap up the story or dig deep to pick up the pace for the last 2 km and cross that welcomed finish line. In those projects, you find success, satisfaction, and a sense that an expert has just been here showcasing their craft. Those “someone’s” (our expert) are not the norm, unfortunately. Let’s explore what might be different about them that we can learn from.
For decades now we’ve read about highly effective people, those who get what they want, personal improvement gurus, weight loss programs, business improvement models, and on and on. Most of them have one target in common; your habits. Change your habits and you will change your life.
Experts who know how to finish the last 5% do so because they’ve created a habit of finishing well. They prepare for, look forward to, and even crave that last 2 km’s when they’ll get to see the finish line creep ever nearer. They love the challenge and the competition, pushing themselves to perform over and over again.
I coach basketball, and as a kid, I played a lot of it. I love the game, love the unpredictability of close competition, and love the spirit of tenacity that I see in some kids to be leaders in practice. Oddly enough, who are the kids that routinely shine through in-game situations? The ones that have practiced with focus and determination are the ones who pick up the pace, have built the stamina, and create the mental clarity to finish well.
That doesn’t mean they always win. But in most cases, they show up with the last 5% and we celebrate that.
Gino Wickman in his EOS model talks about the importance of people who get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it (the “GWC”). Understanding who you are and what you do best is good but surrounding yourself with a team that shares your values and each on their own gets it, wants it and has capacity for it, is priceless.
Similarly, the marathon runner has someone who helps them with their nutrition, their footwear, their training plan, a running partner an accountability person and friends who support them. The successful runners create a team of experts to help them hone their skills and prepare them for the race.
In business, there is no difference. You need a team that will help you to build a better life; and not just for your life but those of your employees, your vendors, your customers, and your family. So, if you’re having trouble figuring out why you can’t break through the next ceiling, or more importantly why you can’t seem to finish the last 5% of the race, take a close look at yourself first and then the team around you.
You also need to create both a habit of winning and a system of practice that makes you the best. Don’t accept 95% from yourself, because your customers generally won’t. Find out what you are the expert at and prove it by giving the world not just your first efforts, but also the part that people will remember; the last 5%. You won’t remember kilometre 3, or 8, or 29, but you will remember your team cheering you on as you cross that finish line with pride.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.