The last five per cent

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

NYC2015

The hardest part of any project is the last five per cent. With the end so close, your focus wanes and you begin focusing on the next challenge or the next project. You may be exhausted and even bored with the current project.

But be warned, the last five per cent is critical. It can make or break a project. The last five per cent is when the ‘magic happens‘. It’s when you tie up the loose ends; add the finishing details; and make the last 95 per cent count.

In my work with startups and companies with innovative products, I often find that it is in the last five per cent that entrepreneurs give up or lose focus. I can’t help thinking that their business outcomes would have been better if they had given it their all—their 100 per cent focus.

If you invest years of time and money in a project, it deserves nothing less than you fighting for it to the very end with 100 per cent effort!

…the project deserves nothing less than you fighting for it to the very end with 100 per cent effort!

When I was writing up my Masters’ research thesis, I had two months to distill five years of work. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time. There were are few moments of panic and a few times when I thought, “I just can’t do this”.

To get through the last five per cent of my thesis, I gave myself a deadline and religiously stuck to a strict routine that required me to show up at my desk each and every day at 4am.

My days went a little bit like this: write my ‘to do’ list for the day and then write for about an hour and a half before getting ready for bootcamp. Go to bootcamp followed by a post-training coffee. Back at my desk, write until 10 am and then email my work in progress to my supervisors. Start my ‘real’ day, working on client projects solidly until meeting with my supervisors on campus at 4pm.

This cycle continued until one of my supervisors said, “I reckon this is ready to be submitted.” That was it. Masters completed. What an anticlimactic end to an epic journey. Part of me expected something more dramatic. I was hoping for at least the gold ticker tape similar to when they announce the winner on MasterChef Australia!

From my Masters’ experience, I learned that a dedicated focus on the last five per cent makes all the difference between success and failure.

…I learned that a dedicated focus on the last five per cent makes all the difference between success and failure.

This focus is just as important when you are launching a new, innovative product or service. While the outcome doesn’t have to be perfect—like my thesis—it does need your complete focus. And, if you are being honest with yourself, you will only feel completely satisfied with the project if you have given it your all and done your best.

What have you put 95 per cent effort into without paying attention to the last five per cent? Have you given up before the end?

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.
Photo credit: Christine Moody NYC 2015

 

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