Perfectly imperfect

Departments - Editor’s Insight

February 7, 2018

One of the most exciting projects we’ve done in the past few years at Lawn & Landscape is our Turnaround Tour.

This is the second year we’ve done it with Bill Arman and Ed Laflamme from the Harvest Group and you can learn more about it on page 45. While it’s a fantastic project, it’s also one of our most time-consuming. I traveled to visit each company with Bill and Ed, and I follow up with the companies throughout the year, so it’s high on my priority list.

But with that comes the added pressure to make it perfect – or at least that’s what I tell myself. As I kept going back to each Turnaround Tour story to make them all home runs, I was reminded of one of my favorite sayings: “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

I don’t know who said it; I don’t know where I heard it first and I don’t know if it means what I think it means. But as someone who has been driven by deadlines my whole professional career, it’s something I can always tuck away when the fruits of my labor fall short of sometimes too lofty expectations.

Because, like many of you have to do on a jobsite, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to make it perfect. Plus, your idea of perfect might be subpar to someone else and vice versa. In my newspaper days, sometimes the perfect story was a finished story. And sometimes an A+ effort churns out a C+ result.

It’s hard to swallow, but the sooner you close the book on that C+ project, the sooner you get to start fresh on the next job.

It’s hard to swallow, but the sooner you close the book on that C+ project, the sooner you get to start fresh on the next job.

I find that the stories I spend too much time on usually have one glaring item missing when I go back to review them. Maybe if I wasn’t so focused on every minor detail, that glaring omission would have been avoided.

As I turned in the three profiles, which I’m happy with overall, there is some relief in knowing that I’ll be writing more about these companies throughout the year. So what I didn’t accomplish this time, I can take a crack at again soon. Though, I have to remember that would have been the case even if this was a one-time deal because there are other stories to write.

As we get closer to the busy season, remember that perfect can be the enemy of good. You should always want the best for your company, your customers and yourself, but don’t let that ultimate goal of perfection ruin a very good result from a very good effort. – Brian Horn