"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."
One of the things leaders talk about on a regular basis is quality. They may not use that exact word, but when they talk about how great their products or services are, or how well their business performs some kind of function, that's what they mean.
Focusing on quality is great – but it can go too far. For a lot of leaders, it would be unthinkable to release something to the public or try something internally until all the kinks were worked out. And certainly, there is a minimum level of quality that all products and services have to offer.
The problem comes when we become so focused on the quality of our offering that we never offer it. We'll release it after we make this final tweak, or after we re-engineer this last piece, or after we re-design this other part, or if we re-evaluate pricing, or whatever. By the time we actually get around to putting it out there – if we ever do – it's obsolete.
This problem is compounded by the rate of change we're faced with in today's world. If you have some kind of product or service that fits a need today, but it takes you 5 years to get it ready, you've missed your window. Nobody cares anymore. Or somebody else is already doing it and you've just become a copycat.
We live in a world where whatever you offer needs to be out there when it's market ready. In other words, as soon as it reaches a minimum level get it out there. Not only are you less likely to miss your window, but you'll get feedback from consumers that you can use – rather than just sit in your office and guess about the changes you need to make.
The same thing applies to initiatives that are focused internally. Maybe it's a new process, maybe it's a new method of handling people, whatever. When we wait to start making change until the change is flawless, the change never happens. If you want to change how your business functions, get the vision in your head, get an idea of how to implement it, and then get to it.
There is no perfect. So don't wait around until you find perfect before you start doing things. Yes, there is some minimum level, but failure because you didn't start is permanent. Failure once you get going is only temporary (see Henry's Ford's quote above). Get out there and fail. It's your best chance at success.
Article reproduced with the kind permission of Matt Heemstra
Matt is a director of Cain Ellsworth & Co. LLP, USA. For over fifteen years he has worked with small and mid-size businesses, helping them to envision their future and then make it happen. Matt heads up Growth & Profit Solutions (GPS), a division of Cain Ellsworth.