Do It Right the First Time & Do It With Class

One of the first leaders I learned from was the Captain of my first ship when I was a young Naval Officer.

One of his catch phrases was,

“Do it right the first time, and do it with class.”

These are powerful words.

Have you ever done a task, but you didn’t give it your full effort?  Or you finished a project and it was not up to standards?

…and then you had to redo it?

Ironically, when this happens it is often a result of cutting corners because we felt we didn’t have enough time.  But, if you didn’t have time to do it right the first time… do you have time to do it again?

Half Effort = Double Time?

When you don’t give something the proper effort, often the results are not satisfactory.  Then you find yourself in the position that you have to do it again.  Not doing a task “right the first time” often creates more work.

Many people learn this lesson as kids when they try to cut corners in their chores or schoolwork.  So, why do so many people continue this behavior?

Here are some examples of how not “doing it right the first time” creates more work:

  • Rushing a Job – Rushing through a task often leads to doing it incorrectly.  Ever rush painting a room and then realize that you will have to paint it all over again?
  • Starting Something Unprepared – This could be something as simple as running an errand and realizing you don’t have the required items and having to make a 2nd trip.  Or showing up to an appointment with out the required materials and needing to reschedule.
  • Not the Proper Attention – Multi-tasking is not always a time saver.  Ever do two things at once only to realize that you messed one of them up because it did not have your full attention?
  • Leaving Tasks Undone – When you leave things undone, they often create more work for you.  Picking up where you left off can take more time, and late tasks can involve even more work.

Do you find yourself in these situations?  Do you risk having to do a task twice because you only gave it half effort?

Doing It With Class

Getting a task done is the first step towards success.  However, if you want to rise above the rest, you have to go further.

“Doing it with class” speaks to not just getting the job done, but getting it done with flair.  Going above and beyond.

Anyone can finish a task.  But, not everyone exceeds expectations.

Some ways to “Do it with class…”

  • I didn’t finish the report.  I finished a report that exceeds the quality levels required and will impress the clients that read it.
  • I didn’t give the customer what they expected.  I delivered more than they expected and excellent customer service, as well.
  • I didn’t finish the project on time.  I finished it ahead of deadline and within budget.
  • I didn’t return the favor.  I returned the favor and went one step beyond.

We all have examples when we or someone we were working with exceeded expectations.  The discipline however, is to make it a habit and to do it consistently.

An interesting thing to consider is that it doesn’t matter if you are delivering a business presentation or serving fast food.  You can do your job with class.  It is a choice.  It is an attitude.  And it is a discipline.

What About You?

That lesson I learned years ago from my Captain in the Navy has stuck with me.

Whenever I feel the temptation to cut corners or feel my motivation fading… “Doing it right the first time and doing it with class” brings me back on target.

So, make sure you do it right to start with… so you don’t have to do it over.

And make sure you always do it with class!

Question: What examples do you have of doing tasks over?  How do you “do it with class” and exceed expectations?

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  • http://daytimer.wordpress.com Jeff@Daytimer

    Loved this topic… as a teen my boss called loafing “mailing it in,” meaning you instead need to hand-deliver your work performance every day. Anything else is cheating yourself and those around you — people can always tell when you’re not giving it your best.

  • http://www.suzanne.co.il Suzanne

    How do you know someone is making a great impression with his writings? When you find yourself thinking about it during the day, and the next one. I just love this phrase!
    It is quite opposite from what my teacher Oscar Ghighlia told me once (Chinese proverb); there is a time for fishing and a time to repair the net. He meant that sometimes you have to get things done and the perfection will come in due time. There is something to say for both phrases, I suppose.

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  • Gad Tesler

    I think it is important to understand how much effort and time can be applied to each task. If we would all put maximum effort and time into each project to make it as good as possible we wouldn’t earn any money. Every situation is different it is important to manage expectations and put time and effort in that justifies the amount you are being paid.