Warning: “Not Bad” is Not Good

If you’ve heard me talk, you know I often quote Jim Collins and say:  Good is the Enemy of Great.  If you’re good at something, it’s very easy to be satisfied, to stop striving.

Many people can be good, only a few can be great. You have to break away from the pack.

Lately, I’ve been thinking how often we not only don’t pursue great, we settle for less than good, and how with a little bit of effort and a willingness to change we can go from “not bad” to “good”.

It’s not as big a leap as Good To Great, but it’s easier to go from “not bad” to “good” and you can do it on almost a daily basis.

For example.

I just finished a wonderful Blueberry muffin that I bought at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo coffee shop.  It was full of blueberries, nice and fluffy. It came in the most wonderful wrapping [I really don’t know how they wrapped it] and was handed to me by a young woman,  impeccably dressed.

The cost was just  $2.50.  The muffins at the local branch of  the  imported food shop near my house cost three bucks and they are “not bad”.  They are better than the doughy humongous  ones you get at Costco, but they are still never good, just “not bad.”

It took a little bit of effort -a twenty minute walk-to get the muffins from the Ritz Carlton, but it’s worth it.  I probably won’t  do this everyday, but it’s worth it.

One of my consulting clients continuously referred to his marketing department as “not bad”.  When he finally took some action and brought in some better qualified staff, he began a whole series of new campaigns and he got more excited about his work.  His marketing people were “damn good”, he told me. His life and his business improved.

The gym I used to go to was also “not bad.” So was my dentist, my apartment, my internist.  All “not bad”.  I didnt hate them and I didn’t love them.  Just “not bad”.  Not “good” either.

I often talk about surrounding yourself with the best people possible.  As I thought about my life and how to make it better, I changed  a lot of these small things.

I found a a wonderful dentist, a magnificent apartment ,a great gym,  and an excellent internist. It took a while to find and change them all, but as I did, my life got appreciably better.  Yes, really better. Much better.

Small things like this can make a big difference.

It just a willingness to change and make the extra effort.

“Not Bad” is “Not Good”

The next time you say this [I know some people say it almost reflexively], think about what it would take to make it good, if not great.

Usually, it’s just a few extra steps.

If you run a business, a restaurant, a department, a school, a class and people say it’s “not bad”.   It’s reason to worry. Is this enough for you?  It is most likely not going to be enough for your customers.  What would it take to get people to say “good”?


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