Best is the “evil enemy” of good

I recently went through some Lean Transformation training provided by Simpler Consulting, and one of the facilitators said that “best is the evil enemy of good.”

I was a little surprised by that, because I’ve always thought that good is the enemy of best … people are satisfied with ‘good,’ and so they don’t put out the extra effort for ‘best.’

But Steve explained it this way:

We’re so mesmerized by the best system, the best process, the best solution that we often fixate on that and don’t even start. The ultimate solution is too far out there – it’s unattainable. So, because we don’t want to fail, we don’t go for the brass ring.

That rings true …. projects that I’ve delayed and delayed and delayed, because I knew we couldn’t get where we wanted to go.

But the point is, if you try, and you achieve 50% of what you tried to do, you’re still better off. And next year you can improve another 20%. And the following year another 15%.

The idea is continuous measured improvement, instead of staking everything on quantum leaps of improvement.

I kind of like that idea.


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, only because I felt it applied to myself:
    “the greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.” – Karl von Clausewitz
    Easy to spend way too much time trying to do things the perfect way for only the sake of doing it the perfect way when a good way will get the job done in a fraction of the time.