Perfect Is The Enemy of the Good (Issue 973)

In which we are reminded to fit for purpose rather than perfect.

My wife and I went out for dinner last night. It had been quite some time since we had a Saturday night go-out-to-dinner date. Since mid-March, with only a couple of exceptions, we’ve spent our evenings at home or in outside activities, like walking, that don’t involve close contact with other people.

So, we went pretty wild last night and went to a restaurant about a 20 minute walk from us. As we approached the chosen eatery, I felt excited. I thought “I can’t remember the last time we did this.”

We chose a restaurant that, by Massachusetts standards, does everything right for the pandemic. Outdoor tables spaced six or more feet apart, masks required except when actively eating, menus on your phone, and so on. Because it’s locally revered and famous for its fried chicken, my wife ordered the fried chicken sandwich and a root beer with a side of mac and cheese. I ordered the black bean quinoa burger topped with guacamole and a Mexican street corn and Cotija sauce accompanied by a side of roasted cauliflower. (Cotija is an aged Mexican cheese made from cow’s milk – new vocabulary word for the day].

A few minutes after the runners had delivered our food, our server came by to ask, “Does everything taste good?” Our answer to that question was “yes.” It did taste good. And, despite the fact that the black bean burger was a bit mushy (bits would squirt out the back of the bun when I bit into the front) and that the traffic noise and wind were sometimes a bit intrusive, the meal was thoroughly satisfying. We were out. We had a date.

Now… the restaurant chefs could have spent hours shaping the black bean quinoa patty just right, making sure that the street corn and Cotija sauce was perfect, toasting the bun just so…. They could have invested the extra time to make and serve THE MOST PERFECT veggie burger in Boston and presented it elegantly on a Royal Copenhagen china plate with sterling silver table service and I wouldn’t have cared. What mattered to me was: We were out, we were safe, the food tasted good, and it came fast.

Il meglio è l’inimico del bene” – perfect is the enemy of good. No matter what we’re serving, the servings don’t, each of them, have to be perfect, over the top, the best that can possibly be done. Each serving should be good enough for the intended purpose based on the criteria that are most important to the guest or client. More than that is a waste.

Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at .

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