A local restaurant just did an extensive remodel. As we walked in you could notice the changes immediately: new carpet, new serving areas, new paint, new tables, and new décor. It was impressive – until we went to sit down. It was then that we encountered the seats in the booth that needed more than a cosmetic upgrade; they needed to be tossed. In one instant, all the enhancements were negated.

The last mile can often make or break the entire outcome. A restaurant that remodels but leaves the torn benches invalidates the whole upgrade. The road project that fails to smooth out the transition points still leaves drivers frustrated. The grant with an improper table of contents or budgets that don’t add up casts doubt on the entire document.

Think of the projects that you have been involved with – have you persisted until the very end or left similar loose ends hanging? It’s easy to say that you ran out of time or money or that you are “going” to get to the final details, but releasing something as finished before it truly is done distracts from the overall outcome. Something is only “new” once. If your new comes with flaws, you’ve lost out on the positive reaction that newness should have earned you. Make sure that you’re truly done before you claim to be finished.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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