ABOVE & BEYOND | The True Meaning of Giving 110%

Colleagues bragging about giving 110% have bothered me for a long time. It can’t be done. 100% is the full amount. You can’t give more than that. Try pouring 110% out of a gallon of milk, or handing someone 110% of the money in your wallet. What I think they are really saying is either “I do more than others” or “I gave more than was expected.”

My guess is they probably mean the former more, but it’s easier to admit to the latter. Instead of my usual snarky 110% soapbox stump speech, I’m going to experiment with dealing with this phrase more productively. When I hear it next, I’m going to respond with “You usually deliver more than what is expected?” If I can pull it off with an objective and reflexive tone, I’ll be curious to see how others answer.

Thinking through this topic has triggered me to explore how I can better deliver more than what is expected. I identified four broad ways to give more than what is expected: