Is Good Enough… Good Enough?

good enough or best

Okay, so I was speaking with several business consultants… no, that’s not really true; I was listening to several business consultants, and hoping that none of what they said would rub off.

Here they were, trying to make the point to a handful of business leaders that in an era where everyone is looking to save money, you should never strive to be too good.

I’m serious.

The goal, they said, was to be absolutely sure that in every area of your business, you are just barely good enough. So, I asked about the old rule of under-promising and over-delivering. Their response? Well, that’s obsolete… out-dated… old school… no one is looking for that anymore.

Oh Really?


So, I asked them two more questions, one which they laughed at… and one that silenced them.

The question that brought laughter was when when I asked where excellence fit into their “process”. I’m not kidding… laughter… and rolling of the eyes. The message was that, surely…
I was being naive.

And then I asked the question that silenced them; it was along these lines: “Okay, so in light of your focus on being barely good enough, could you please tell me what the turnover ratio has been on your staff over the last three years?”

Silence. They wouldn’t answer! I later found out it was about 100%. And they’re the ones “advising” your business.

You see, “A” players, which should make up 15-20% of your team… and “B” players which should make up the other 80-85%… will not play long-term for mediocre, average, short-sighted, bottom-feeding organizations.

This leaves those companies full of “C” and “D” players, who ultimately will need to be let go; after, of course, they make a lot of mistakes that further trash the company’s reputation. It’s sort of a lose-lose strategy.


I remember hearing a story told by Seth Godin about a developer who only did one project each year. Out of every thousand opportunities, he said… about one hundred were good… but only one was really great.


This gentleman likely made as much on that one project as those who grovelled with the masses to be cheap and barely acceptable. But it is your choice… it’s always your choice.

A pastor who leads a church with about thirty thousand members… yes, I did say thirty thousand members… said once that “good enough” is the enemy of the “best”. It will keep you from ever reaching your potential.

So, let’s see… I can listen to one of the greatest marketing minds on the planet speak about rising to the top… especially in a tough economy… by being truly remarkable. I can listen to one of the most influential and successful ministers in the country speak about the dangers of average. Heck, I can just look at my own track record, and those of other business people I respect…

Or… I can listen to a couple of consultants whose living depends on their ability to shock three or four CEO’s every quarter or so into believing that they are missing out on some closely held business secret that’s going to improve their bottom line.

I said good-bye to the consultants.

For consideration:

In my opinion, the best way to improve the bottom line, is to significantly improve the top line.


I look forward to hearing from you.


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