Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Good is the Enemy of Great


Every chance I get, I talk with people about how to pursue breakthrough performance.  And I can tell this gets on some people’s nerves. 

“Rob, we are working our butts off and now you are suggesting we do more?  Why?”

Yes, I am suggesting that more is possible.  Why?  Because there are millions of people on our planet who need more and better.  And “No,” I am not suggesting that you simply work more hours.  I am suggesting you work “differently,” that you innovate.

Good is the enemy of great. 

“People think we are doing a good job.”

“We don’t have any real obvious problems.”

“Actually, things are going pretty well.”

“We are good.”

Jim Collins* popularized the “Good is the enemy of great” quote, but the idea has been swimming around for some time.  If no immediate problems exist, it can lead to people being “Comfortably Numb” (Great Pink Floyd song) with the status quo.  

Greatness takes a continuing commitment to innovate.  And that is uncomfortable.  We get used to doing things a certain way.  But what if there are far better ways?

If you want excellence, if you want more for those you serve, if you believe that more is possible – then do not allow “good” to be “good enough.”

This is why Vision is so important.  What are your dreams?  What do you care about?  If you could have it any way you wanted, what would it be like?  Dream Big!  Have you accomplished this?  If not, then seek more – seek breakthrough performance.

And the best way I have found to lead breakthroughs is to set Almost Impossible Goals – based on Vision.  You can read more about that here – and that will lead to you making an even greater Mission Impact.

*Jim Collins, Good to Great, 2001.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

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