Merge's Blog

When it comes to decision-making, “perfect” is the enemy of good

Leaders have responsibility for decision-making.  And as regular readers of the blog know, I routinely blog about tools and challenges that come with decision-making.  Today’s blog post illustrates the decision-making trap called “perfect”.

decision-makingThere are at least six different routes I can take to get from my home to the airport.  One is on a highway and it’s the fastest, particularly during rush hour traffic, but it has a toll fee.  Another is also on a highway, but at peak times, it’s often bumper-to-bumper and moving slowly.  The others go through an assortment of neighbourhoods with different marked speeds and varying number of stoplights and playground zones.  They all get me to where I need to go.

There really isn’t a perfect route to take.  It’s just a matter of what’s more important for me to minimize – the time, the cost or the aggravation.  My eventual choice comes down what my priorities are and how I balance the trade offs.  And those priorities can shift from day to day, sometimes even hour to hour.

Which is useful to consider when making decisions

Usually, there are several methods by which you can achieve the outcome you desire.  But there is rarely a perfect solution.  It comes down to considering your priorities and weighing off the benefits and disadvantages of each possibility.  Sometimes your priorities will shift quickly.  And when that happens, so should your preferred option.  It is rare that you will find the “right” answer; usually it’s only the “best” answer given the current circumstances.

So it’s important to stop seeking the perfect solution.  It’s an elusive target that never gives you a return on your investment of energy and time.  Instead, your goal should be good decisions – ones that have articulated your priorities and then considered the pros and cons of the alternatives.

Well?  I’d love to hear from you about your successes and struggles in trying to make good decisions.  Have you faced the enemy called “perfect”?  How have you gotten past it?  Please share your experiences by commenting below.

If you’re interested in other posts I’ve made in the blog on this subject of leadership decision-making, then here are links to some recent ones:

2 thoughts on “When it comes to decision-making, “perfect” is the enemy of good

  1. This post could not have come at a better time for me. Thank you for sharing your advice so generously. On a number of occasions, your Monthly Mega Minute has helped me to put things into perspective and to reposition my mind-set – which leads to repositioning my words – which leads to action.

    I’ve been struggling with the aim to “perfect” or the “best”. Not only in decision making, but in everything I do. I need to work on “bite sized” tactics that help me to shed my “fear of missing out” and embrace “good enough”…

    1. You’re welcome Zahra, I am glad this was helpful to you. And I’m also pleased to know that you are becoming more self-aware about not needing to be perfect. It’s a heavy load to carry, and the irony is that we usually do it to ourselves! Onward!

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