Saturday, March 8, 2014

Isn't good "good enough"?

One of the skippers I tried to mentor some years ago had the attitude that good is "good enough".  No amount of talking, writing, cajoling, or even begging (by me and others) convinced him to change his mind.  I can't bring myself to think that he was right in his thinking. "Good enough" did get him promoted and it did get him a pretty nice medal from the Navy.  "Good enough" got him those things.  "Good enough" may be fine for the individual but the command deserves excellence for the Sailors.

What "good enough" didn't get:
  • promotions for the Sailors.
  • a command reputation for excellence or anything beyond mediocrity.
  • respect from Sailors, peers or seniors.
  • a command prepared for IG inspection.
  • recognition for the command's mission accomplishment.
  • Sailors' pride in their command.
The list goes on but then it becomes too specific.  I remain convinced that good is not "good enough."


Anonymous said...

"if the minimum wasn't good wouldn't be the minimum."

Mike Lambert said...

Anon @ 9:08 AM

And there you have it.

Anonymous said...

Who wants someone with a "passion for excellence" standing over them demanding perfection when, all the equipment works as designed, all the assignments are met on time or before, all the work is solid and good and,
you get to go home and spend all that time with your wife and children and take weekends to go camping and fishing and you have time to read a book, stop and smell the flowers and HAVE A LIFE?

I never liked the driven men who had a passion for excellence that demanded I work 16 hours/day not to get the job done but to paint it twice a week, polish it six days a week and put it up on jacks and change the oil every other week while also insisting that it drive 300 miles per hour in the rain.

I made no bones about advancement because in my community your time is my time. I will detain you for as long it takes to meet the demands of the navy and let you go home the instant we are good enough. We'll paint when we're in the yards or right after but not before and as long as everything works I don't need it polished.

The passion for perfection is intolerable in an officer of the line.

crap. numbers, moderation, again. Oh well. Just look at the damned things. It's not just one number you have to write back, no! It's hundreds. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. Somebody said let's write a perfect little program to prove you're not a robot and make it a lot more numbers than any sane person needs, because, perfect.

Seth Lawrence said...

Managers watch minimal performers do their work, Leaders motivate Sailors to perform at their best and grow as a result. This same principle should exist at the command level. This doesn't mean that all Sailors will be stellar performers, but rather, it means that a Leader's goal is that all Sailors are perfroming at their best. In laman's terms this is put as, "reward the behavior you desire, and remedy the behavior you do not". Not everyone is capable of putting the time, energy, or effort into being a leader; but, those who are should be rewarded with more responsibility and leadership opportunities. For those who are simply managers, one would hope that their immediate superiors would be remedying that behavior.

Kevin said...

That’s the job of a leader – to ask the unasked question, to challenge the status quo, to look for opportunities for improvement. This doesn’t mean traditions and proven methods should be changed for change sake, but they should be examined to see if they still help the organization reach its desired outcomes.