Done Right, First Time, On Time – Work Ethic Erosion

After Action Report
After Action Report / Review of Performance
October 30, 2016
We make choices everyday...
November 28, 2016
Done Right, First Time

Work ethic.  It seems to be something that is eroding in general. Not a now and then, here and there kind of thing, but a more often than not kind of thing. As a business owner I deal with many different types of people.  As a corporate employee I had a different experience and in the military as well.  There are always going to be those who do the minimum possible to get by.  What I’ve noticed is that there are more and more people with that attitude or at least displaying behavior that makes it look as thought that’s their attitude.

Done Right, First TimeSome of it can be tied to overwhelm. Many people are doing more with less and they can’t handle the stress.  However in many cases it’s simply lack of working in excellence.  For example, lets take a simple purchase of a wall calendar. I order a wall calendar like this one every year so I can plan out my year and see upcoming events, marketing campaigns and deadlines at a glance.

The calendar comes laminated and is about 24 X 36. I put the double-sided poster sticky stuff on it to affix it to my wall.  This year I ordered my calendar far enough in advance (Prepare in Advance strategy from my Think Like A Negotiator Book). It arrived and much to my surprise it wasn’t rolled and put into the box. Instead it was folded about 6 times and stuffed into the box. The box itself was damaged and the calendar was creased. It was unusable.

Done Right, First TimeThe box included a form with a number to call if the item was damaged. I called and the person I spoke with said they’d send one out in 2-6 days. I asked for expedited shipping (Ask for Exactly What I want from my book) and got 2 day express shipping instead. I was happy and looking forward to getting the new calendar on the wall so I can start visualizing 2017.

The calendar showed up today. The box that is came in was square like the first one.  I would think a rolled item should be in a round tube type of container but was encouraged when I opened it and saw it was rolled.  However it was damaged – again! It was crushed in multiple spots and on the ends.

squished calendar 1While this may seem minor in the overall scheme of issues in the world.  It ties into a bigger problem regarding productivity and loss.  The person having to do the rework is having to spend more time to do the rework and the company is losing money and time because of having to do the rework.  The loss is in material as well.  Now that this is damaged again, it is further loss.

Sure, it’s only a $15 calendar, but how we do one thing is how we do everything according to some.  If that’s the case, how will the bigger jobs be handled if the smaller jobs are done incorrectly.  The cost to the company can be astronomical in those cases and a course correction needs to happen in order to avoid continued errors of this nature.

There are at least two possible issues happening with this:

  • The employee doesn’t have pride in their job to work in excellencesquished calendar 2

If they don’t have pride in their job, it may carry over into other areas of their life.  Many people are frustrated, overwhelmed or unhappy.  However, Abraham Lincoln said it best “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” It’s a decision that we can make everyday and commit to keeping our mindset positive and be highly responsible and productive at work and in our own lives.

  • The employee isn’t trained properly to work in excellence

This is a lack of training to function as a high performing team or the lack of the importance of operating as part of a team. The employee may have been given the task but not shown how to properly carry out the task.  The customer service rep I spoke to ensured they would relay the message for the calendar to be rolled instead of folded.  That may not have carried appropriate instructions to put it in a tube type of container.  How could they screw this up twice?  That is indicative of a problem and system breakdown somewhere.

If people aren’t trained properly or the culture of the company doesn’t encourage excellence, this can cause a breakdown across the company resulting in lost productivity and the bottom line due to rework.

What is the solution? I’m not sure you can teach someone in a short period of time to have a better work ethic and take more pride in his or her work. This kind of thing takes time to correct because it is a systemic problem. If the culture overall doesn’t promote high quality work at all levels or make everyone feel part of a high performing team, this will continue to happen.

What are some minor things you can do in your own life to up level your own game?

  1. Remember this phrase: “Done Right, First Time, On Time.” This was the slogan of the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath in England. If you strive to do it in excellence the first time every time and course correct any errors that occur along the way (they will occur sometimes); you will be well on your way to performing at a higher level than before.
  2. Do something small every day to start your day with a disciplined approach such as making your bed or making sure your space is clutter free.
  3. Put the shopping cart back at the grocery store. How many times have you gone to the store and pulled into a parking space only to find it had a shopping cart in the middle of the space. When you look a couple spaces down you see the cart return area. Why couldn’t they put it back? This is another discipline task and a bit of respect for the next person coming to park.

The bottom line is training yourself to up level your game to do things more in excellence. As you start doing the little things they will carry over to the big things. Check out the Facebook Live video I did about this same issue.

What does this have to do with Thinking Like A Negotiator? This is about self leadership which is negotiating with yourself. If you can negotiate a better deal with yourself, you will craft better deals in other situations. The Power is in The Work!

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at


  1. Maria Aguilar says:

    Good morning I just finished watching your video regarding the calendar issue! So very true taking pride in what U do. Also, I want to add “you only have one to make a first impression”with that said ur work, family surroundings are what u make of it!!

    To me it’s common sense I don’t like doing double work nor will I a coworker of mine show that lack of drive: pride because at the end of the day u still represent u! Along with ur place of employment but never forget perception i holds alot of ground on first impressions n initial contact at any if not all new .

    Thank u for sharing ur video I want watch today’s video but I have s meeting but I will try vis telephone !!

    • Eldonna Fernandez says:

      Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the info. It does seem like common sense but seems that is not always available to people today for some reason. There is a lack of critical thinking skills for sure.

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