A little while back there was a commercial running, on a local station, that was trying to equate the value of their product to some common sayings. The one saying that really struck me as particularly funny was when the narrator said, “You
wouldn’t tell somebody they looked like twenty bucks”. I thought, “Even saying somebody looks like a million bucks isn’t that impressive today with the weakening value of the dollar”. There were other says that the narrator referred to that left less of an impression on me but it did cause me to think about meaningful sayings. I concluded that the say which has always reoccurred in conversations over my lifetime is, “Give it 110 percent”.
If you really think about this saying, it certainly lacks logic. If 100 percent is considered perfection how does a person perform 10 percent better than perfect? Is that really what is meant when somebody tells you to give 110 percent? I think
not. I believe what they are saying is that you should strive to perform beyond perfection even though you know that it is not achievable. This idea then takes into consideration that people are not perfect and occasionally will falter or make mistakes. If a person raises their level of expectation of themselves to perform beyond perfect and then falters they will have achieved performance at a higher level than if their goal was only perfect. To place this idea into simpler terms, if a student felt the best they could do in a math class was “B” work and they set their goal to get only a “B” and they faltered, they would end up with only a “C” for the class. However, even as the student acknowledges they may only be capable of “B” work they challenge themselves to strive for an “A” and falter the net results could end up being “B – B+” performance. In essence there is nothing to lose and everything to gain by “Giving it 110 percent”.
The concept works as well in the business world as it does the academic world. Companies that strive to give 110 percent and encourage their employees to do likewise will outperform those that don’t. Which company would you rather hire to paint your house? Company “A” who performs the work flawlessly but leaves a mess behind for you to clean up, or Company ”B” who performs the work equally as well but leaves your property cleaner than when they arrived? Of course, if both companies charged the same amount to perform the work you’d be foolish not to hire Company “B” over Company “A”. Over time Company “B” will obtain more business through referrals than Company “A”.
You may be thinking, “Okay Ed it’s easy to say we should give a 110 percent but how do I get my employees to embrace the concept”? It starts with a strong corporate Mission Statement that defines the company’s goals as giving it 110 percent. This is followed up with you leading by example and rewarding employees who do strive for 110 percent so that you establish a Company Culture that embodies your complete Mission Statement. In order to accomplish this goal you might
just have to give it 110 percent.