When is Good Enough, enough?

As a perfectionist, I have long struggled with “good enough” vs “the best” and have found a book by Barry Schwartz called “The Paradox of Choice” to be very useful to me. He articulated my concern, by identifying that some choice was good, but too much choice could be overwhelming and that aiming for “the best” was problematic, because you could never know if you really had “the best”. Today you might, but things could change tomorrow!
In my trainings, I often draw a normal distribution or “bell curve” and ask managers to describe what is “good enough” performance, compared to “not good enough” and “excellent”. Of course, it is usually hard for them to put the distinctions into words, yet this is a fundamental need of employees – to know what standard of performance is required of them.

This is where solutions focused questioning is helpful, so we can move from an abstract concept like “the best” to practical examples of what is “good enough” (or “best enough” for those of us who think “good enough” is a cop out).

For examples of solutions focussed questions to help flesh out “good enough”, keep reading.

When your employee is doing “good enough”:

“What exactly will they be doing (e.g. with/for clients, team members/other departments)?

What will they be saying and how will they be saying it?

And what and how will they be writing (e.g. emails, letters, reports), so that others experience them as helpful, respectful and informative *?

[*insert whatever qualities are relevant]
Note, a similar theme is covered in Coert Visser’s recent blog “Good enough is the goal“, which was my inspiration for this blog.

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