We could if we wanted to, spend an inordinate amount of resources to reach “perfection”. Sadly, not something I have witnessed too much in my time in construction contracting!
So when is good, good enough?
Establish the Best Standards for Your Business
Only you (and your customers) can decide what your standards should be, to facilitate your optimum success in the marketplace. But decide you should.
Your leadership role here is to figure out exactly what your customers value most vs. what they value least in a relationship with a business like yours. Not specifically what’s important to you. Not what you think should be important to them. What IS important to them. To figure out what aspects of your business offer opportunity to “wow” your customers and give you some sort of competitive advantage – without undue cost, without the paralysis of perfectionism.
Your role, and your business success depends upon you being able to communicate this clearly to others.
You must arrive at a comprehensive understanding of the “Good Enough Spot” in every aspect of your business. Determining this is magic of the highest order. This is how you finally quantify what so few business owners can ever quantify. How you clear away the fog of uncertainty, confusion, and vague ideas from your own thinking, your employees, your suppliers, and your customers.
Having a clear and definitive “Good Enough Spot” for every aspect of your business is the most empowering management breakthrough possible – and itself worth 50 times the price paid for consulting sessions with me.
Your marketing role is to turn that into a clear, clearly understood and embraced agreement with your customers.
Your management role is to translate that covenant into clearly defined standards for how your business operates, how your services are procured, managed and delivered, and especially, how your employees perform.
You need to come to grips with both the need to meet your standards 100% of the time without fail, without deviation, and your need not to waste time, energy; or money in seeking perfectionism or excellence outside or beyond those standards.
I know, this contradicts so much of what you read and hear.
But the reality is that the most successful, sustained successful, dominant and profitable companies in every category of goods or services find their way to the place I’ve described. They establish a matrix of exacting standards and meet them.
Finally, your supervisory role is to enforce your standards. No exceptions, no excuses, no creative deviation, no improving. I mean “enforce” in every sense of the word. Not just teach (although you must teach), not just reward (although you must reward). Enforce.
This is the responsibility nobody likes; just about everybody neglects it and desperately rationalises and ardently defends the neglect.
Combined, it delivers a giant guilt trip. There’s the “if you don’t trust your people, how do you expect them to trust you”, the “you can’t run a business like a prison”, the “these are old, outdated ideas that won’t work with the new worker”, and another hundred or more anti-enforcement themes woven through the books, the articles, the seminars.
For the business owner already uncomfortable with police work (enforcement), desperate to be liked, deluded about the actual nature of employer-employee relationships, and eager to avoid enforcement, this blah blah is cocaine. And it is at least as dangerous.
The problem is, everything else you might do right and get right is sabotaged by lack of supervision and enforcement. Every investment you make reduced in value. Every customer you acquire at constant, high risk of loss. Every grand idea, every noble policy, every clever marketing strategy castrated!