No Sour Milk
- Applying rigorous attention to accuracy and detail
- Understanding the full scope of an assignment and seeing it through to completion
- Working to the best of my ability in a comprehensive, correct and timely manner
Many tasks or assignments are either done fully or not done at all. As an example, let’s assume that I pour myself a glass of milk and put the milk container back in the refrigerator, but I leave the refrigerator door open. The fridge will warm up. It doesn’t count if I started to close the refrigerator door but I just didn’t quite get it closed. The door wasn’t closed. The fridge - and the milk - is now warm. Despite my good intentions and partial efforts, the milk will go bad in the fridge if I leave the door open.
Here are a few other examples you can consider:
- Drive most of the way to work.
- Give your friend half of a gift.
- Pop the corn a little bit.
- Shower part way.
In each case, doing the task only makes sense if it is done to completion. At work, many of the tasks we perform, or the services that we offer, follow a similar logic; but sometimes it is easy to confuse hard work or progress with outcomes. Yes, we may have worked hard for a while; yes, we may have tried; yes, we may have made tremendous progress; however, at the end of the day, if the work wasn’t complete, or if the answer wasn’t correct, then…the work wasn’t complete and the answer wasn’t correct. It’s a simple concept. If the fridge door is left open, the milk is still sour!
As I have learned this concept, it’s helped me grasp the fact that my incomplete work rarely delivers value to others. Unless I am thorough in my work, then most of my hard work and efforts are offered in vain. To make matters worse, unfinished work is the most expensive work around. Time, energy, and other resources were invested towards a project, but very little value was returned.
At Funds For Learning, we have spent the past 15 years building a service model centered on being thorough. Our consulting clients specifically engage us to help them be fully compliant with the E-rate regulations. “Partial” is not an option for us. Below are a few practical steps we have learned to help build thoroughness in to our daily work:
- Understand the full scope of the project.
- Define in advance what finished will look like.
- What are the needs being addressed?
- How will I know when they are met?
- Establish milestones. Long, tedious and/or complex projects can be harder to complete. Set waypoints to help you have a sense of accomplishment while monitoring your progress.
- Create accountability. Communicate with others before, during, and after the project. Not only will it keep them informed, it will keep you on-track and responsible for seeing the work through to the end. At FFL, we send our clients monthly status reports to let them know what we’re doing.
- Don’t confuse exhaustion, boredom, frustration, and/or “ready to be over with this” with being done. You are done when you are done. Period.
Last but not least, and perhaps most importantly, understand that if you don’t complete something you
Key Words and Phrases
Carried through to completion; Rigorous and exhaustive; Fully developed in all aspects; Having full mastery; Leaving no stone unturned; Painstakingly careful; Seeing it through to the end; Touching all bases; Meticulous, with great care; Attentive to accuracy and detail.
Shoddy; Superficial; Partial; Incomplete; Lacking.
Copyright © 2017 Funds For Learning, LLC. About the Funds For Learning GuideMarks.
- January 9, 2017 - Reinforce the Good
- January 16, 2017 - Your Best Work Forward
- January 23, 2017 - Timeliness
- January 30, 2017 - Focus
- February 6, 2017 - Professionalism
- February 13, 2017 - Solution-Minded
- February 20, 2017 - Work by Design
- February 27, 2017 - Neatness Counts
- March 6, 2017 - Share the Reason
- March 13, 2017 - Understand the Reason
- March 20, 2017 - Intentional Learning
- March 27, 2017 - Calming Presence
- April 3, 2017 - Commitment
- April 10, 2017 - Reliability
- April 17, 2017 - Proactive
- April 24, 2017 - Offer No Excuses
- May 1, 2017 - Teamwork