Friday, April 11, 2008

Good Enough

An inspirational line from a noted entrepreneur:

"Good enough never is."

I liked that sentiment until, after some brief reflection, I concluded that it's not true. There are plenty of occasions in which good enough is fine and you are better advised to turn your attention elsewhere.

We assume that things can always be improved, but can they? Are there not some levels of performance that are perfect and where efforts to improve them could wind up doing harm? If we concede that there are moments when less is more, does that not acknowledge that good enough is sometimes as good as it gets and as good as it should get?

The components of overall excellence include a lot of "good enoughs."


Jeff said...

"Good enough" speaks of bandaids and chewing gum. Temporary fixes. As long as that's understood it's not a problem.
This past week I was faced with a rush request from a client for a design. My creative team needed time to work it out - certainly more than the two days given. But at the final hour, the client called and said give me what you got. I said we're nearly there, I'll be there today, but I need a couple more hours. He said that we shouldn't "kill ourselves", they just wanted to see what we had.
I knew that he had to present to his own client. "Good enough" might seem like a good idea, but ultimately it would have killed the presentation for both me and him.
As it turned out, we weren't able to perfect it. But we got damn close - close enough that I could demonstrate the piece and get a commitment from the client for more time to finish it.
"Good enough" to me isn't a component of excellence as much as it is a bookmark.
But that's just the cranky salesman in me... :)

Michael Wade said...

I understand the concern with organizations that consistently accept "good enough" and yet a curse would be "May you demand perfection in all things." As the old line goes, the best is often the enemy of the good. There are times in our practice when we are trying to give the client Rocky Road when the client simply wants Vanilla. Sometimes, perfectionism paralyzes.

Jeff said...

You're on the mark as always, Michael. My fear though is that "good enough" is a slow march towards mediocrity.
I'd venture that the secret is understanding what the client truly "needs".
Less is more when more is too much.

Lord said...

In a competitive environment, good enough never is for long, though it may well be for now.