What’s your enemy?

Bow Before Greatness

Photo credit: Carlos Varela


Who’s ever found themselves working on something only to get to where you say, “Eh, that’s good enough!”?

When is good enough, good enough? If good is the enemy of great, when is good enough great? When does the pursuit of great become perfectionism that keeps us from delivering? When does Pareto and his insight about peas bring us to our knees as we pursue the good enough of 80% to the great of 90-100%

Good may be the enemy of great. But great is the enemy of possible. I read this years ago… I can’t remember where. The case made for this argument is that there are many companies once deemed great that no longer exist.

Greatness breeds a false sense of security. This can stifle innovation. It can limit efforts to continuously improve. It can blind a company to changes in the market. Either way, the great often get left behind. It’s when great isn’t good enough that the possible can occur.

This is a works another way, too. Sometimes, it’s important to just launch something. Get the first rev out there. Watch the product collide with reality. Innovate and iterate to close the gap between what was good enough – your first rev – and what’s great – your gold standard.  If you wait to release until what you have is great, you might just wait forever.

Whether you’ve attained greatness or are pursuing greatness, you must risk mistakes. You can put the right people on the bus. You can put them in the right seats.  But if you don’t let them make mistakes, you won’t find what’s possible.

And that would be a great loss.


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