Growth and Decay

An interesting property of our world is that stagnation, isn't. Things which aren't decaying are generally growing, and things which aren't growing are generally decaying. The point between the two exists, but it's a rarer property than I think we assume. For group effort this has the consequence that 'good enough', isn't. Consider for example a team that puts in 99% of the necessary effort towards a goal. Their output is basically as good, but very subtly missing the final polish they'd need for meeting expectations. The problem is that thanks to normalization, this outcome will become the expected way of things. Once that happens you'll start getting 99% of 99%, or 98%. Then 99% of 98%, and so on. Subtly at first, and then more apparent as time goes on your performance begins to seriously deteriorate. As a consequence it's important to always try and meet expectations in pursuit of a goal.

Fortuitously however, extra effort is similarly rewarded. A team that always goes a little farther, to say 101% of their original objective will find over time that they're much more than 101% better at things than others. One consequence of this is that even small improvements can make a very big difference if they compound. You shouldn't ignore things with small effect sizes if larger effects aren't available.