Why the First 10% of Effort Makes or Breaks the Remaining 90%

October 13, 2019 | By Eric Ducoff | No Comments

Remember all those great ideas and projects you had that never got off the launch pad, or fizzled shortly thereafter?

Well, of course you do.

Like most salon/spa owners, your entrepreneurial nature is always thinking and exploring ways for your company to perform more efficiently, profitably and competitively.

And like most owners, you’re busy as heck fighting fires and switching from one leadership hat to another. You’re just trying to keep up with the rapid pace of leading a service business. That’s part of the reason so many new ideas, systems and projects never see the light of day.

FACT 1: If the first 10% of an idea, system, project or vision is half baked, it doesn’t stand a chance.

FACT 2: The first 10% of effort that goes into a new idea, system, project or vision represents the foundational blueprint that supports the remaining 90%. That first 10% of effort defines the why, what, how and when.  

  • If one element is missing or vague, the entire effort will either fail or produce dysfunctional results.

Here are my five No-Compromise Leadership strategies to ensure the first 10% is prepared to support the remaining 90%:

  1. Define the desired outcome: If you want to do your first 100-mile Century Ride on a bicycle, you must first know if you’re fit enough to ride ten miles. Then you keep training and adding miles until you’re ready for that Century Ride. KEY: It’s the idea for a book that turns into a chapter outline and eventually a completed book. It’s the initial effort to start something and the determination to stick with it.
  2. Is the journey worth the effort? This is the “think this thing through before you start” requirement. It’s taking the time to focus on what it’s truly going to take to bring this thing to life (time, money, resources). It’s asking the question, “If we did this, would it truly make a difference?” KEY: What at first may appear as a great initiative may in fact be a dud, or a whole lot of work for little, if any, gain. Better to think it all the way through before you start.
  3. Is your “why, what, how and when” realistic? After 26 years in business, I’ve learned to be more patient. That means instead of wanting it done yesterday, tomorrow is fine with me. Well, I’m not that bad, but I am an entrepreneur and entrepreneurs love charging off on new adventures. I’m good at defining the “why and what,” but all new initiatives need more. KEY: I depend on my leadership team to help fill in the finer details that live in the “how and when.” It’s in the “how and when” where the challenges, necessary resources, and expertise required to build and complete a new initiative are defined. The question that must be answered is, how realistic is this initiative? Can we do this in a timeline that makes sense? If not, the initiative is either put on the back burner or trashed.
  4. Can you “sell” your idea: In a service business, it is your team that creates your service product and your all-important customer service experience. It is your team, or specific members of your team, that will need to understand the why, how, what and when of the initiative — and carry it out to achieve the desired results. KEY: Think of the first 10% of the initiative as if you were preparing for a major presentation to your team — because that’s exactly what you will need to do. If you did the work, you should have everything you need to deliver your “sales pitch” to your team with absolute clarity. Simply put, your team needs to hear and understand every element of the first 10% so they can deliver the remaining 90%.
  5. It’s all about “buy-in” and trust: Your team can’t support or implement an idea, system, project or vision they don’t understand. More importantly, the ability of a team to buy-in into a new initiative depends heavily on the level of trust in the leader. This is especially impotant when the new initiative involves necessary corrective measures to fix issues in the salon/spa that may not be popular. KEY: You need to be fully aware of the state of your company’s culture. All it takes is one or two naysayers spewing their toxic waste on other team members to create resistance that can kill an otherwise worthwhile initiative.

Here’s my challenge to you: The first 10% of effort is non-negotiable. Do not underestimate the level of detail and bulletproofing that must go into it.

As a coaching company, one of the biggest challenges we see owners have is hitting the launch button long before they and their companies are fully prepared.

The key word in that “first 10% of effort” is the word effort. It cannot be rushed, and it cannot be shortchanged. It needs to properly create the foundational blueprint to support the rest of the initiative.

Categories: Leadership

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