Sunday, August 11, 2013

Good Enough #principals #lead

"Most of us in those days were pleased to have a roof above us and a solid earthen floor, but not Mrs. Macken.
"Mr. Shafter," she said, when I was counting my work finished, "is there a way you can make planks for a floor?"
She was educating me in more ways than she knew, and from her i was beginning to learn the wiles of women and how they work upon a man's pride and vanity to get things done. Her phrasing was a shrewd thing, for it was a challenge to my show-off.
"Planks can be made," I admitted warily. "They can be split from logs, but I'd say flat stones might do as well."
"I would prefer the plank, Mr. Shafter, and 'as well' is never good enough. The plank, if it would not be troubling you too much." Source: Louis L'Amour's Bendigo Shafter
When a youngster, Louis L'Amour's story of westward expansion, Bendigo Shafter, caught my eye. A concept I wasn't familiar with was that of  doing something "good enough" or something doing "as well" as another.

As an administrator, I learned the value of "good enough." You know, when doing a job, you didn't have to be perfect, but rather, just do something well enough to get by for the job. It presumes that there are more important jobs to work on, and this task simply gets in the way.

A part of me regrets that there are some jobs that get done that way in my life. For example, I hate folding laundry. My towels aren't folded perfectly and stacked neatly. Often, they are roughly folded, and then a precarious pile appears amidst where towels are stored. "After all," I think, "they're just going to get unfolded." The same might be said of the bed. Why spend a lot of time on getting the bed all tidy when I know I'm going to be taking a nap that afternoon?

I'm not sure exactly why I started down this road--the blog entry, not lifelong habits of laziness--but it may have been some ideas in this blog post, "'What Do You Think About This?' Doesn't Cut It When Asking for Feedback." It got me thinking about ways to get meaningful feedback in a meeting.

Here are some adapted from the blog entry that I hope can help at getting meaningful feedback in a meeting:

  1. Are there any gaps in the logic about how we're doing this that you can notice? If so, where and what do you suggest?
  2. Are we sharing what we're doing about this initiative in a way that makes sense and inclusive of others' perspectives?
  3. How could we do what we're trying to do better?
Is good really the enemy of great? The gap between good and great wide and requires a lot of hard work to bridge. The excuses of what hold us back from great and settling for "as well" or "good enough" alternatives are legion. Your imagination will suffice as well as any detailed list I could make.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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