“If you want it to look great in the end, take your time and do it right the first time.”
This was the one-liner my Dad hit me with as I asked him questions about renovating my son’s room. You see, this was uncharted territory for me. I have always been a fan of the handyman craft and ever since I’ve become a dad, I have been eager to start absorbing the “know how to fix everything” knowledge my Dad has. Now was my chance to start. My wife and I recently bought a house, and as with any house, updates were part of the plan! With the “to-do” list finalized, I decided to start with my son’s room a couple of weeks ago. Why am I sharing this? Well, I am amazed how this project reminded me of what is needed to be successful in business.
Start right, stay right
For most of my life, I have been the type of guy who either procrastinates until the last minute or who starts something and looks for the fastest solution so I can move on to the next thing. Thankfully, my Dad knew this. “If you want it to look great in the end, take your time and do it right the first time,” he said. I was already focusing on cutting the wood I needed and quickly thanked my Dad for his time and moved on. It wasn’t until I ran into my first obstacle that the quote circled back. The house is older, and I found that some of the walls are not as flat as they appear. One of my measurements for baseboard molding fell about a quarter of an inch short. Honestly, it was in a place where the bed would cover it and I thought about leaving it as is because it was my last piece. But then I remembered the quote and thought about how in 6 months if we reorganize his room, it might be exposed. My name would be attached to this, and I wanted it to be as close to perfect for my son. So I went back to Home Depot, accounted for the quarter-inch difference, and did it right.
In business, we find ourselves in what Butler Street refers to as “the whirlwind". It is the constant emails, meetings, client interactions, the fires that need to be put out. While this is happening, decisions need to be made. Decisions usually have a couple of options – the right way or the fast way. Remember the bigger picture before doing something at 50% just to get it done. “If you want it to look great in the end, take your time and do it right the first time.”
Progressive improvement is better than postponed perfection
Before I started this project, I probably watched 15+ YouTube videos on how to do things. Videos like “What wood do I need to buy?” “How do you use a miter saw?” “How do you load a nail gun? (yes, a lot of learning things for the first time here). And looking back on it, it is crazy to see how fast the project progressed once I started the actual work.
So many times in our training sessions or in business conversations, I hear stories of sales reps or leaders talking about waiting until they are ready before acting. They have meeting after meeting about initiatives and seem to talk in circles, never actually taking the first step on the implementation. Just start. Progressive improvement is better than postponed perfection! Be okay with not knowing 100% of the information you’ll need. Have confidence in yourself and know that as challenges come up, you will figure out how to handle them and keep moving forward.
Accountability & Removing Socially Acceptable Excuses
After dealing with a bowing wall, primer & paint spills, and my 3rd trip to Home Depot in a day, I had a forehead-slapping moment thinking, “what did I get myself into?”., I was working two major deals, facilitating training, and this renovation project was taking way longer than I expected. In all honesty, the idea of finding a professional to come in and finish the job sounded great. And I knew that no one would push back if I told them I had to reach out and hire someone because of my busy schedule. But I started to think about the idea of having someone else finish my son’s room and how much that would bother me. I thought of what that would look like from my son’s point of view. It was time for me to look in the mirror and hold myself accountable.
In business, times are going to get hard. You will have moments when you think of pursuing a career where you don’t have to hit a quota or deal with so much rejection. Socially acceptable excuses will start to creep into your mind. Things will not be 100% in your control. It wasn’t your fault it didn’t work out. In those moments, spend time thinking about your “why”. Maybe it is to help others with the solution you sell or maybe it’s to put your family in financial freedom. Whatever it is, don’t lose it. It will help drive you when the motivation fades.
I am still impressed with how many business lessons I discovered in this home improvement project. I am also thrilled to see how this project turned out. In business, it takes a lot to be successful. Remember the importance of starting right to stay right. Think of the big picture. Remember that progressive improvement is better than postponed perfection. Just start. And lastly, remember to hold yourself accountable and remove the socially acceptable excuses when your motivation fades.
At Butler Street, we help businesses tackle all of the above in their own roles (leaders, sales reps, account managers…the list goes on). If this is an area of opportunity for you and your team would welcome your time to connect.
FYI - Here is a before and after photos of my son's bedroom remodel:
P.S. This whole project was made possible with the vision my wife had. I just followed her direction…but that’s a whole different blog 😉