Complacency is a quiet death. It sneaks in like water in a fissure in the pavement. No one notices. It’s silent. It sits there for a long time and still no one notices. No one notices until it breaks things apart and then it’s too late to do anything other than patch the hole.
You choose the words “good enough” because you’re tired. You’ve worked on a problem and come up with a solution that will suffice; the same way you might rationalize eating a donut when you’re trying to be healthy because you’ve been “really good all week.” Before long those “rewards” erode all the good work you’ve done. Settling (for good enough) does the same. In small doses good enough is fine but it doesn’t dissipate. It compounds like poison. When you yield to good enough too often, it becomes the norm for operations and expectations. Good enough is easy. Good enough lets us move onto other things. But when you do, you are surrendering to ordinary.
Being comfortable is not the road to innovation. It’s not where the magic happens. Nothing extraordinary happens when you’re doing “fine.” Joe Gerstandt suggests you should go so far as to invite struggle into your organization. HBR featured an article recently about pushing yourself. It’s time to give up your obsession with average and good enough.
Good enough is not good enough. It’s not innocent and useful. It’s an organization and motivation killer.