What does cutting the grass and painting have in common? Besides being household chores, both are comprised of two segments: the middle and the edges.

I don’t mind cutting the grass – if it means those long, continuous stretches in the center of the lawn – but I hate all the edging and trimming along the sides. I don’t mind painting the walls –as long as it is the center of the wall itself – but I lose patience when trying to paint around windows and doors. Yet, the quality of the work overall is determined precisely by how well those details are done.

When judging the amount of time to do painting or mowing, we often give estimates to do the heart of the project and grossly underestimate the time it will take to do the edging well. This manifest itself in our organizations when we give credence to those who paint the main part of the walls and overlook those who perform the tedious trim work, or we volunteer to take on the tasks that can be performed with the riding mower but leave the weed-whacking to others.

When you are making assignments, projecting timelines or appropriating recognition, keep your lawn in mind. If you only address what occurs in the center section, your competitors will mow you over with their quality.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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