Thursday, July 1, 2010

Things I Have Learned - When Good Enough Isn't Good Enough

Human nature is fascinating!

Throughout life, we are all faced with daily issues that challenge, excite and shape us. Most of us would say that we appreciate the good things we experience and dislike those which hold us back. For the most part, we are content with the "good things" and content with our good performance.

"The game was really good"
"He did a good job"
"It's for your own good"

These are all common statements that we use and are content with. It expresses that things are fine, acceptable; we are pleased with the outcome. But is good, good enough? "Good is the enemy of best"

Consider the surgeon who operates on the philosophy of good being good enough, when performing open heart surgery!

Or the pilot who is within a degree of his anticipated course - (over the length of a long haul journey, you can actually miss a continent)

Or the Olympic 100 meters sprinter who was 1/10th of a second outside of the world’s best time and gets silver.

Maybe a straight "A" student who was one percent below the pass marks and as a result settles for a "second best" career.

A builder whose foundations are good but not perfect according to the plans, is courting disaster at some point during the storm. Or the accountant, who omits to file your tax return on time, but remembered to go on a world cruise and leave you to it!

You see, there are many times in life when being good just isn't good enough and thankfully, we rest confident in those individuals who shun being good and pursue excellence. Being good is a great place to start, but we should peruse going beyond what is acceptable or good and develop an attitude that takes us into excellence.

Here are some simple things we can all excel in and move beyond the "being good is good enough" behavior.

1. OUR WORD - Never promise that which you know you can't deliver. Being a person of your word, means there will be a cost to you to keep it. I recall a good friend of mine taking his business into receivership because his debtors defaulted on what they owed him. Rather than doing the same to his creditors, he sold his assets and paid off all his debts. When I quizzed him for his reasoning, he said "I gave them my word."

2. OUR ACTIONS- Never do a "good enough" job. What sets you above the crowd is being above average. Average people do average work. I am not saying sell yourself short, but never sell anyone else short either. As an employer and employee, be prepared to go the extra mile.

There is an old Roman custom that authorized any soldier to command a local to carry his amour and kit for one mile. Those with an attitude of excellence carried the armour not for one mile but for two. "Going the extra mile". I make it a point of selecting my team leaders based on their "extra mile" attitude. Clock watchers don’t understand this philosophy and are likely to focus their actions elsewhere.

3. OUR LIFESTYLE- Never let the pursuit of excellence burden others in the process. Being excellent is not an issue of perfection, but an issue of attitude. One can have an excellent attitude and do a less than excellent job, but one can’t have average attitude and do an excellent job.


To be above the norm of average, we need to excel in our view of average. The saying "I can’t hear what your saying, because your LIFE speaks to loud" rings so true of many an average life. "When all is said and done, it's not what's said, but what's done."

Live life to the full, enjoy life extensively but consider the surgeon, pilot, sprinter, or academic. Their excellence, safeguards our choice of being average.