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In Leadership, Good Enough Is Pretty Bad

By Brent Filson
Friday, March 11, 2005; 4:00pm EST


Summary: Having a "good enough" attitude is a serious stumbling block for leaders. Such an attitude allows them to avoid the hard work of finding better ways to accomplish things. Leaders will be more accomplished, and will accomplish more, when they eschew "good enough" and adopt an attitude of having a "powerful dissatisfaction" with the way things are.

The first time I meet a leader to decide if we should work together, I invariably ask one question. The answer to that question gives me an idea of whether we'll have a productive relationship. The answer also tells me how the career of that leader might turn out.

I ask, "Are you satisfied with the results you're getting now?"

It's a simple enough question, yet it points to a world of difference between leaders. Because if the answer is "yes" then our meeting will be brief. We'll quickly go our separate ways. My leadership methods can't help a satisfied leader, a leader who lives by "good enough." Those methods can only help if that leader has a powerful dissatisfaction with the results h/she is getting now.

To understand this, let's go back to basics: Leaders do nothing more important than get results. If you can't get results, you won't be leading for long. Somebody who can get results is always waiting in line to take your place. If "good enough" is okay with you, you are the next best thing to somebody who can't or won't get needed results. So, "good enough" is your enemy, "powerful dissatisfaction" your benefactor.

I'm not saying that you should go around in a funk powerfully dissatisfied with everything and everyone. You'd be a royal pain. What I am saying is results should be seen not as an end in and of themselves but part of a natural process to get more. Powerful dissatisfaction does not have to be a downer. It can be a joy. The joy of having the opportunity and privilege of thinking anew and acting anew. To be powerfully dissatisfied, one must be relaxed, open, caring, and humble. Banishing "good enough", embracing "powerful dissatisfaction" becomes a profoundly enriching way not only of being a leader but of living one's life.

So, take a joyful, powerful dissatisfaction into your leadership activities and see the difference it makes in your interactions with others and in results.

About the Author
2005 � The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. For 2 decades, he has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at www.actionleadership.com

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