Why We Don’t Always Do Our Best.
BE. Best Work.
Most companies talk about doing quality work and want to do it. Our business is the same; we set an intention, plan, and expect to do our best work. Unfortunately, we don’t always reach these standards we set for ourselves and for our business. There are times where we only do ‘ok’ type of work. But why?
When this happens, it is tremendously frustrating. In the beginning, our intentions are always to do the best work possible. Everything seems to point to a ‘great work’ outcome. However, over time, we start to make minor adjustments here and there. We let little things that seem like no big deal at the time build on one another. Finally, when the project is completed, we are left with work that simply meets requirements. It is passable. It checks all the boxes. But the truth of the matter is that we could have done better.
How can something we wanted to be great from the beginning end up only being ‘ok’ when we finish? How can we work to get better? How can we not only protect ourselves from doing ‘eh’ work, but also build systems, habits, and routines that produce the best work every time? How can we be the place where Best Work is so habitual that it would be hard not to produce at the highest level? How can we build up ourselves and our business to a level where it feels like we can’t lose?
The Enemy of Best Work.
We all want to do great work. No matter your pay, role, or job title, we all have an innate desire to do well with what we make. So, what is it that causes us to fall short of our expectations? To answer this question, we need to look at what takes away from our ability to produce our best.
Ole Thorstein, in his book, Making Things Right, dives deeper into this idea and believes that three common things occur when we don’t deliver our best. Let’s look at each of these when they would be at their best.
Most projects involve more than one person contributing something in order to deliver an outcome. Leaders can be seen as the architects of projects. They oversee each project, putting together resources, timelines, and making adjustments when needed. Leaders set expectations from the beginning. It is their job to hold themselves and the contributing parties accountable to reaching the standards that have been set for each project. It is not possible to lead from afar; leaders need to be actively involved in the project process. They need to be at the center where the work takes place.
Even the best intentions can’t be met without proper training. In order for me to do my best work, I first need to be taught the correct way. Then, I need to practice. Quantity leads to quality. The more I do it, the better I can get. The more I am shown and reminded of the correct way, the closer I get to being at my best. Without proper training, practice, and instruction, I will come up short every time.
Time, Care, and Attention.
Ideas and projects need time to mature and develop. We can work hard and long to help move things along. However, there is a difference between working efficiently and just putting in extra time to ‘get it done.’ When we rush, not allowing things the time they need to take, there is usually a cost to the standard of work we produce.