cover good 2 great

How the Book: Good to Great got it Wrong

The Enemy of Great is Good ~ Jim Collins

Good is good enough ~ Dan Kennedy

So who’s right?

If you don’t know who either of these guys are, Google them.

Now that you know who they are, which strategy should you commit to? Both make great sense; Follow Jim Collins’ thought process and you may join the ranks of General Electric and a host of other companies that were mentioned in his books.

Follow Dan Kennedy and avoid the curse of never getting anything to market because you are always making that last adjustment. Kennedy says: Don’t wait, act… do something to generate revenue or starve.

I have added both of these guys as virtual mentors of mine. Both are widely successful, both have published works quoting the phrase they are each credited with saying.  These statements are polar opposites… so which should you follow?

The thought process behind Kennedy’s statement avoids getting caught up with perfecting a blog post, article, or whatever your product is, and get it out there.

Too often business owners want to go to market with the perfect (insert product here). They spend all of their time and energy trying to make it perfect and as a result… they never go to market.  It’s too easy to stay in development mode and never shift to money making mode.

Having devoured Good to Great and Built to Last I have used both of these books to create, maintain, and profitability sell a company that I owned for 10 years. The logic behind the phrase “the enemy of great is good”, makes perfect sense to me.

Collins says you are the staunch advocate and head cheerleader of your product… tough to do if you are shooting for good.

Further, Collins’ books talk about the companies that made the difference and became that top 1%. The financial differences between companies that were good v. great can be measured in billions of dollars in market capitalization.

Some will say that these guys are talking about two different things. I don’t think they are. Collins says Great is what you should shoot for; you should never JUST put something out there. Kennedy says get it out there and tweak over time… if it works.  If nobody buys it, don’t waste any more resources on it.

Here is the tough answer. Kennedy is right, Collins is wrong. I still love Collins’ books; they give me something to aspire to and a roadmap showing where my compass should point.

Here is why Kennedy is right. The likelihood of everyone creating great is nil. Not everyone gets to grow up and play shortstop for the New York Yankees. For every Derek Jeter (current Yankee shortstop) there are thousands of others who will never get that chance.

If you hold a gun to my head and say “pick one: good enough or great”, I pick good enough because it gives me another chance to do it again. I get to learn from my mistakes and create another opportunity to try again.

Someday I might get it to great, but I don’t want to spend my entire life trying to make one thing great, the stakes are too high.

Remember the guy who kept swinging the hammer on the rock… eventually the rock breaks. This makes for a great story…so long as the rock breaks. His great story IS the rock breaking. If it doesn’t break, there is no story, and if he is paid to break rocks… he starves.

Every time I hear that story, I think he should have found a softer rock.

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