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  • claremayell

When 'good enough' is just not good enough

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

We’ve all been there. Up against a project deadline, dependencies all over the place for a piece of work being delivered urgently. There is a strong urge push the button to say ‘GO! It will be OK’.

You know it’s not perfect, but it's good enough.

But is it really?

The ex-CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Robert Iger thinks not. His book, Ride of a Lifetime, shares what he learnt while running Disney and leading its 200,000 employees. One of these lessons talks of the pursuit of perfection being about 'creating an environment in which people refuse to accept mediocrity.’

In other words, justgood enough’ is not enough.

Acting on instinct

He adds ‘If something doesn't feel right to you, it won't be right for you’. I agree. The best project leads I know are those who always act on how something feels. They just can’t ignore it, even if it will be unpopular with others.

They will halt activity, re-evaluate or even change the plan if necessary. They ask the awkward questions, make difficult decisions and are comfortable admitting when they don’t fully understand in order to deliver better.

Contrast this to many project managers who happily accept average – or even lower. Unhelpful to everyone involved. Well run projects share, with clarity, the priorities for where the project needs to be and how the team are going to get there. This is particularly important when the goal is complex, challenging work requiring high energy and intense focus.

Adding some context

Back to Robert Iger’s words to expand: ‘You have to convey your priorities clearly and repeatedly. If you don’t articulate your priorities clearly then the people around you don't know what their own should be. Time, energy and capital don't get wasted. You can take the guesswork out of their day to day.’

So many projects go wrong because leaders are vague and unspecific on what is really needed. They don't share what is truly important or the full context. People working on the projects fear raising their hands to clarify priorities or challenge whether the outcomes are the right ones. They just want to avoid being seen as difficult, less competent or risk being unpopular.

Projects that Deliver disrupts the norm by doing the opposite. We do not accept mediocre.


To find out how Project that Deliver build this in to everything we do – especially when working on complex, stuck or failing projects - click here.

To work out how much sticking with mediocre, or average, project delivery might be costing your business, click here


If you have time, take a look at these:

Listen: Tim Ferriss interviews Robert Iger (start around 7 minutes in...)

Buy the book: Waterstones, Kindle

LinkedIn: Summary of ‘Ride of a Lifetime’


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