When we talk about execution – about getting things done – one of the things leaders run into is the question about quality. How good is good enough? I saw this a long time ago and recently saw it again on the internet (I’d like to give credit to the creator but don’t know who it is).

If 99% were good enough…

  • Two million documents will be lost by the IRS this year.
  • 22,000 checks will be deducted from the wrong bank accounts in the next 60 minutes
  • 1,314 phone calls will be misplaced by telecommunication services every minute.
  • 12 babies will be given to the wrong parents each day.
  • 2,488,200 books will be shipped in the next 12 months with the wrong cover.
  • Two plane landings daily at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago will be unsafe.
  • 3,065 copies of tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal will be missing one of the three sections.
  • 18,322 pieces of mail will be mishandled in the next hour.
  • 880,000 credit cards will turn out to have incorrect card holder information on their magnetic strips.
  • 55 malfunctioning automatic teller machines will be installed in the next 12 months.
  • $761,900 will be spent in the next 12 months on tapes and CDs that won’t play. (This certainly dates this!)
  • 107 incorrect medical procedures will be performed by the end of the day today.
  • Now some of you may think I am going to advocate 100% – and you’d be wrong. As leaders, we need to define what quality means to our organizations and teams. There is a cost to quality. I have seen many projects fail because someone on the team inappropriately strived for perfection. In some cases 100% should be the goal – but not always. How would you define quality?

    On a different note – how do you define quality for your life? Are you constantly striving for perfection? While this can be a very good personality trait, if carried too far you can ruin your life. Cut yourself a break. No one is perfect! You can strive for perfection in the hopes of achieving excellence, but if you shoot for the stars and only reach the moon – be sure to celebrate the fact that you’re out of this world!

    All the Best,

    JT