Over the past 12 months businesses across the country have been trying to do more with less. Fewer employees, less incoming revenue, increased competitive pressure. During this time, most professionals I know went back to basics exclaiming sentiments like “we can’t predict when the economy will rebound, hunker down”; “revenues have declined, cut costs and stick with what you know works”. While these are prudent economic moves, they are also missed opportunities.
I believe in planning. Collecting data, testing hypothesis and building support; these are essentials for good fundamentals. But to be wildly successful you have to take risks and trust your instincts.
How many times has your organization suffered from analysis paralysis? I remember many years ago working for a technology company and the Executive Team set up several task forces. I was asked to lead one on strategic channel enablement. We brought together a cross functional team of professionals. We spent many meetings brainstorming, testing ideas and developing thoughtful recommendations. The time came to present to the Steering committee who had chartered our efforts. The presentations went well, we all left feeling energized and looking forward to implementing one of the three paths outlined. Instead, we were chartered to conduct additional studies. Ultimately, we missed a window of opportunity and while the company proceeded to move forward, these initiatives were thwarted by an aggressive competitive organization that recruited many of our best potentail partners. We may never know if the recommendations would have driven additional revenue streams. But I do know, many employees, including myself, ultimately left the company to pursue other more action oriented cultures.
For all you perfectionists out there, this is going to hurt. But unless you are a surgeon, civil engineer or my hairdresser (yep, I said hair stylist), where precision is life or death critical, stop trying to be perfect. So many professionals are stifled by our desire to predict outcomes that we miss opportunities for great success.
If you remember nothing else, take note: good enough does not mean poor quality – it simply means good quality delivered in time to make a difference; and a sincere acceptance that we will make mistakes.
If you’re having trouble accepting the “good enough” philosophy I recommend reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard by Chris & Dan Heath
p.s. If you couldn’t already tell, this post was written with the good enough philosphy in mind.