‘Average’ vs ‘Wow’: The Extra 10%

19 02 2010

Very often it would surprise us to know what other people think of us – how we are perceived by the world around us (colleagues, for instance) is often quite different to how we perceive ourselves, and what our own intentions are. Intentions are all very good, but people don’t see our intentions – they experience our actions and behaviours.

This morning I read a fantastic article called “The Business of Relationships” by Robin Sharma. It set out 9 key actions we need to practice consistently, to foster great relationships – and success – in the workplace. What surprised me was how simple these points were, and how little extra effort they require to do. An example:

We tend to value that which is scarce. We put a premium on objects and experiences we believe will run out: a Limited edition Gucci Ronson sneaker, a two week showing of Michael Jackson’s This Is It. Reserve wine. We are impacted and motivated most by that which we don’t come across everyday or that which comes in a limited supply. If you are seeking to create long term loyalty in your business relationships, ask yourself what is noticeably scarce? Is it generosity? Authenticity? Encouragement? Spot the scarcity and rock it.”

Obvious when you think about it, right? And really, how much extra effort would it take to leverage the strengths you have and allow yourself to stand out? Very little, I suggest. And that’s the point – it doesn’t take much. Whether in work, personal goals, fitness, or anything else it’s that extra 10% that differentiates YOU from the mass of average people around you. Yet so much of the time, it is so much easier not to do them – not to put that extra 10% of effort in.

In the 2008 Summer Olympics, swimmer Michael Phelps brought home eight gold medals and came home a sporting hero. Looking at the statistics of his races is amazing:

· Michael won the Men’s 100m Butterfly by only 0.01 seconds.

· That’s one hundredth of a second.

· The average blink of a human eye is one tenth of a second.

· Michael’s victory in this race was by a margin that was ten times faster than the average blink of a human eye!

· The average margin of victory in all five of his individual medal races was 1.436 seconds.

That is the difference between silver and gold – and also the difference between a few endorsements and an extra $40-odd million a year.

Develop the habit of applying consistent extra effort, vision, and focus in everything you do. Once it becomes a habit, it will be second nature. Imagine if your attitude, your focus, your engagement with other people, and your perseverance were all just a little better. Ask yourself what that would be worth. Bang for your buck, anyone?

– Quinton