by Subir Chowdhury
Why “good” can never be “good enough”!
Every day, we are faced with choices: a choice to do right or do wrong; a choice to do or do nothing; a choice to bear down and do the right thing or do the minimum that’s required to get the job done.
Our choices are influenced by many things around us: the people we know, the society in which we live and work, and our community. The pressures of everyday life influence our attitude toward quality where we have more choices: family, careers, money. Those pressures build on us and cause us to rush through things here and there. Then when we cut corners, cheat a little, fudge a margin or two, and we say to ourselves, “It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough.”
Stop now and consider this question: At the end of the day, who suffers from “good enough”? What do we lose when we are driven by a culture that seeks the easy way out for all of its problems? Why is “good enough” the driving force our daily lives?
I believe that today, this moment in our history, we have reached a time when we must acknowledge that we are driven by a culture where “good enough” is at the core of our troubles. We have taken the low road to what we know is right. We have lost the moral high ground to what is expedient, easy, and makes us a fast buck. But, if I ask you to really consider what it will take to make us satisfied, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the notion of “good enough” really isn’t good enough!
As I was building my core philosophy for “quality is everyone’s business,” I discovered that the greatest challenge was getting individuals, groups, and organizations (and eventually society as a whole) to recognize that this mediocre middle ground creates enormous waste. More important, is not sustainable. The culture of “good enough” has become such a fixture in our mindset that we don’t even recognize the deep problems that it causes. It prevents us from optimizing opportunities for excellence because it causes us to believe that nothing else can be done.
Meanwhile, we wonder why we feel our quality of life is slipping down, why our expectations have fallen, and we feel less satisfied.
I believe that if we truly want Quality in everything around us, then we must make Quality a part of everything that we do; as individuals and collectively as a society. The test for Quality is quite simple: honesty to self, integrity in what we do, resistance to compromise (on quality), and ethical behavior on our outcomes. When we adopt this level of awareness, then we will never believe that good is ever “good enough.”
I have seen places where the level of Quality, as I have described it, produces long-lasting positive effects on the entire organization. When everyone in the organization commits to this kind of Quality, then they adopt a new mindset toward everything around them. When these organizations have done the hard work of taking everyone onto the path of Quality, they share a culture of elevated awareness. Acculturation toward this mindset – I call it the Quality Mindset – is natural and builds mutual understanding. The quality mindset then produces real change in the way individuals think and behave. Soon, the individual is changed as well: their life is lifted, their outlook is lengthened, and their whole attitude toward personal responsibility is enlarged.
What I have found is that when the Culture of Quality takes over, people observe, understand, and they really listen. People not only listen to their customers, but to co-workers, associates, family, friends, and even neighbors. High achieving people explore and discover by looking for ways to do everything that they can to find the best solution; not the easiest solution, but the best solution possible. For everyone involved, Quality means improving and perfecting everything that they do, every day.
When we all rally around the fact that quality must become everyone’s business, then we will truly appreciate why “good” can never be “good enough!”