Thursday, October 25, 2012

Good enough isn’t enough

I spend a lot of time on Facebook. Not always active, but it's usually in one of my Firefox tabs. Occasionally, something really hits me. Yesterday, one of my professional colleagues posted this, about 19 things to stop doing in your 20s. Number 4 spoke to me, personally and professionally. It reads:

Stop trying to get away with work that's "good enough." People notice when "good enough" is how you approach your job…

I've done this- I used to refer to it as "sinking to the top". There have been situations where I was overqualified for a task, and really only did it "good enough". It was still better than expected. There have also been times when, not understanding all that COULD be done, I failed to explore or made things harder, or more uncomfortable than they needed to be. If a simple solution met the goals, did I need to stretch to be uncomfortable? Wasn't I already too busy, especially since this was "good enough." but doesn't this also apply on a broader scale to the way that you do business?

I have gotten several calls this week from companies who say that they want to "Go Paperless" and then ask for a price to scan in their documents to a CD, DVD, or Disk. While we have the technical capability to just scan in their documents and put them on a CD or DVD, (which is what they've asked for), I am well aware that their needs are probably deeper than that. The only benefit that this allows them is reducing the space required to store these documents. That their request for service that they thought they needed was based in their ignorance of how things could be, and so rather than take their money for a job that would likely be "Good enough" and be exactly what they ask for, that I would postpone the process in order to educate them. Unfortunately, this is frustrating for some of them. They are failing to realize that while I could charge them $500.00- $1000.00 now for a down and dirty conversion job, if they don't put some planning into the architecture of how they will do this, both today, and going forward, they will end up with an electronic basement with CDs and DVDs that are haphazardly organized, if at all. This is effort put forth for something that will likely have to be redone. To handle this, I talk to them about how we need to sit down and talk. How determining how they use this data, how they need to retrieve it will allow us to structure a system that can grow with them, even if they still elect to just get us to scan their documents to a CD. At least that won't be lost when they DO decide to take the plunge.

But there is still a hesitancy to move forward with this education. Perhaps some of it is pride, and not wanting to admit that they didn't know the world of technology that now exists to support static documents. Now that technology is so mature now that it has moved from a state of capturing documents to archive to capturing documents to process, and THEN archiving them. This may be true and is understandable, but the immediate excuse is that they are "too busy" to have to think about these things. Funnily enough, there are two additional things to stop doing in your 20s that speak to this:

                    Stop being lazy by being constantly "busy."

Stop allowing yourself to be so comfortable all the time. Coming up with a list of reasons to procrastinate risky, innovative decisions offers more short-term gratification than not procrastinating. But when you stop procrastinating to make a drastic change, your list of reasons to procrastinate becomes a list of ideas about how to better navigate the risk you're taking.

The idea that there is a way of doing business that you haven't thought of yet is intimidating, but people are doing it- Lots of people. They've tested the ropes, they've broken in the systems. It's time now for the pragmatists to come on board. Yes, you've always done it that way, but there's a new way, a better way to handle things now. And this isn't going to stop. There's always going to be a new way. It might not be comfortable, but don't be lazy, and never, settle for being "Good enough". As we move into a new age of technology adoption, it's also time for the paperless office to emerge out of its proverbial "20s" and into the maturity that it now deserves.




Thanks to for providing the inspiration for this post.





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