The Better is the Enemy of the Good

We love comfort zones. Change looks great on paper and sounds exciting on pep talks, but if things are going reasonably well for us, we’d rather stick with the as-is. Even more! If we got used to bad conditions, a toxic relationship or… a bad process, we are very likely to defend what we know, what we got used do. Besides, what’s bad? The “traditional” or the new? The known draws a sense of security.

About 10 years ago I started working for a small company in the insurance market. The president of that company was a man of integrity, a true leader and a person I respected a lot. I still do. He wasn’t young, mind you, but still considerably open-minded. Yet, even now I remember a quote he used to repeat quite often:

“The better is the enemy of the good.”

(It’s a rough translation from Voltaire –– “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.”)

Even with this standpoint, he didn’t oppose change. He did however understand its price and took responsibility for its impact on the employees — contrary to many other leaders I met on my way later on.

And so… we suck at implementing things. Do you know why?