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The Enemy of Great is Good

by Randall Craig on April 12, 2007

Filed in: Blog, Strategy

Tagged as: ,

Recently, a client sent me an email with the title of this blog posting in it. He was decrying the problem of another vendor who was not responsive, and who was only giving “good” service. I’ve certainly read that other great book, Jim Collins’ Good to Great, which speaks to the same issue.

The Enemy of Great is Good suggests that client expectations are high, and rising. Interestingly, Greatness is only relevant from the perspective of the client – so if we don’t know how they define it, then we might be investing time doing precisely the wrong thing. Or rather, spending time doing merely good work.

It seems that the problem of “good” has infected pretty much everywhere. When we speak to our colleagues, we ask them to do a good job – not a great one. When we speak to our children, often the best feedback we give is “very good”.

At the same time, the opportunity of “great” is a big one. With so many others only providing good service, then it should be exceptionally easy to differentiate yourself by being great.

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Randall Craig

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About 

Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at randallcraig.com and 108ideaspace.com.

{ 1 comment }

Michael Sasarman May 4, 2007 at 2:51 pm

One of Collins’ key findings in his book “Good to Great” is that when you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. I would add to that, a deeply felt desire to “delighting customers”, as another crucial ingredient that will elevate good performance to great results.
That combination is sadly lacking in many of today’s corporations and, I’m afraid that we, as customers, are partly to blame. How many times did we experience sub-standard service without complaint – and how many times did we accept products that did not meet our expectation yet did not return them to the manufacturer. The only way to reverse this tide of diminishing returns is to stand up, express our disappointment and demand our right as customers “to be delighted”.

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