When 99 Percent is Good Enough
A good friend of mine is going through some pretty difficult times these days. Life, as he planned, and dreamed, just doesn’t seem to be happening. My wife was out of town with our youngest at a soccer tournament in Dallas last night, so I asked Patrick if he wanted to come over for dinner. Actually, I just learned how to make an excellent coconut mojito, so even a PB&J sandwich, after the mojito, would be good enough for me.
My absolute favorite cartoon of all time is Calvin and Hobbes. If you don’t know the strip, Calvin is a devilish child with a stuffed pet tiger named Hobbes. When adults and other people are around, Hobbes is, as advertised, a stuffed animal, BUT, when it’s just the two of them, Hobbes is very alive. This particular strip has them alone, with Calvin asking Hobbes this question. “If you could wish for anything in the world, what would you wish for?” Hobbes responds, “I’d wish for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich”.
After Calvin calls Hobbes a complete idiot and tells Hobbes that he would wish for a spaceship to explore the universe and fly to Mars, the two roll around wrestling for a few squares. The final square has the two of them in the kitchen, making PB&J sandwiches, with Hobbes proclaiming, “I got my wish!”
So, when is 100 percent the only acceptable result? With Pa he might settle for a passing grade. Lord knows that I’d have been thrilled with a C for my three mandatory calculus classes at Pitt. (I actually got a C, C, and B).
Carrie Underwood’s new song with Ludacris was featured at this year’s Super Bowl LII. It’s a thrilling song about what it takes to be a true champion. In our cruel and measured world, Champion has morphed to mean ultimate victor. The Gold medalist is the champion, not the Silver medalist.
The song challenges conventional wisdom when Ludacris raps these lyrics that I think do a much better job at revealing what goes into a true champion. Note that none of the words mention fastest time, or furthest distance, or highest score.
The C is for the courage I possess through the drama
H is for the hurt but it’s all for the honor
A is for my attitude working
through the patience
Money comes and goes
so the M is for motivation
Gotta stay consistent, the P is to persevere
The I is for integrity, innovative career
The O is optimistic, open and never shut
And the N is necessary ‘cause
I’m never giving up
I once asked a major mall developer to describe his biggest problem. He told me that it was people using dressing rooms as restrooms. I told him I had a solution and would bring it to him the next day.
I returned with a fancy looking smoke detector attached to plaque that read “In Accordance with Indiana Code 1 Ind. Code § 35-45-4-1.5(b), prohibiting PUBLIC URINATION, this dressing room is equipped with a UDS, (Urine Detection System). Fibers woven in the carpet can detect the presence of urine and will result in the sounding of an audible alarm. It is prohibited by law to tamper with the UDS and such tampering will also result in the sounding of an audible alarm. This establishment will prosecute offenders to the full extent of the law!”
Re-think your problem. What people love and hate about our company (depends on the person), is that because we entered the industry from other backgrounds, we didn’t have specific rules or methods to market like those that live inside of our type of business. Some people think we are rule breakers, but we are only conventional wisdom breakers.
We recently bid a project in Texas and spent thousands of dollars on the bid with travel and time. Our bid was rejected on a technicality that, had we been given an opportunity to explain, would have been realized as inaccurate and easily cleared up. We exceeded what they were asking for in principle, but the answer could only be seen inside the bid, which they never go to because they were stuck on the 100 percent boiler plate compliance. This owner missed out on an amazing solution that promised to cost them nothing.
Once at my old job where I spent 24 years, I was thrilled to show a $1M purchase order that I had just received to my boss. His comment: “Why aren’t you wearing a shirt with a collar?”
It’s super cool to travel into outer space and visit Mars, but it’s even cooler to be happy with a PB&J sandwich.