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Unnecessary Sacrifices

 

In the current fast-paced world of business where communication is nearly instantaneous with the push of a button and where decisions need to be made quickly, I have often observed businesses languishing on the sidelines.   The businesses are not languishing because they have a poor product, non-competitive pricing structure, bad employees, or any of the other typical reasons why businesses cannot compete and succeed.   Instead, it is because they are not making the right decisions fast enough in today’s market environment.

When I have spoken to businesses and their respective owners, especially those who are languishing on a decision to be made, I often use the quote “you are sacrificing ‘very good’ and ‘great’ on the altar of ‘perfection.’”

What is the intent of this quote?   It is to place in the forefront what I have often observed.   There are many businesses and individuals with great ideas that could lead to success.    However, the idea makers are unwilling to commit to and move forward with their idea because it is not “perfect.”  As such, they then spend an inordinate amount of time and resources (financial, mental, labor etc. . . ) attempting to “perfect” the idea.  Consequently, their idea often never reaches the level of perfection they envision.   In their attempt to find  perfection from their perspective, the great idea is lost or delayed to the point where it is no longer useful.   A great idea that would have led to success, profitability, and increased business which could have continued to revise as circumstances dictated has now become worthless.   This scenario is a form of indecisiveness or “analysis paralysis” that I have discussed in previous articles.

One example of this situation I observed as a college student.   I had a classmate that I often interacted with because we had similar class schedules due to our respective majors.   He was very smart, achieved high grades, and was full of ideas.   One “idea” for a business concept that he discussed on a regular basis was creating a company where businesses use this new thing called the “Internet” to have a platform to perform software and other functions that a business would not have the ability or resources to organize themselves.   Essentially, almost 25 years ago, he was describing businesses utilizing a cloud network to provide software services.

It was a brilliant idea.   He talked about it regularly.   Unfortunately, it went nowhere past talk.    Why did it stall?   One reason why is that he was unable to get past the talk stage.   For example, when he would discuss this concept, he would often talk about developing a “mission statement” that he wanted his company to follow.   He believed this mission statement would be the catalyst to lead the company, and the employees, to success.   He spent a considerable amount of time developing this statement.   From semester to semester when I would review his statement there would be little change–a different word choice here, minor punctuation change somewhere else.   Unfortunately, at the end the day, his idea never moved beyond his search for the perfect mission statement.

Businesses and their respective leaders need to avoid the perpetual search for perfection which leads to nothing of value.   Do not delay and sacrifice potentially successful ideas in the elusive pursuit of perfection.  Sometimes having only an idea that is “good enough” is exactly that–good enough to be successful.

© 2017 Matthew W. Harrison and Harrison Law, PLLC All Rights Reserved

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