Last week I coined a new phrase. At least, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it before. It goes like this:
“Perfect inaction is a miserable substitute for imperfect action.”
Too often, for example, we see 4 Disciplines of Execution clients spend way too much time getting ready to get ready. They want their WIGs (wildly important goals), lead measures, scoreboards, and WIG meetings to be perfect, before taking any action at all. However, during those 4 to 8 weeks of preparation, they miss out on the fruit of action – even if that action isn’t perfected yet. Err on the side of action. My good friend and fellow FranklinCovey consultant, Patrick Leddin, puts it this way, “Everything worth doing is worth doing poorly- at least at first.”
In Gilbert & Sullivan’s famous operetta, “The Pirates of Penzance,” art imitates life. The constable and his deputies, tasked with confronting the dubious and dastardly pirates, sing ernestly about their intentions to engage in certain conflict. Over and over again they sing, “We go! Yes, forward on we go. Yes, forward on we go.” All the while, they are marching in circles – NOT going. Finally, the hopeful – and increasingly more concerned – citizen onlookers chime in on the chorus and follow each “Forward on we go,” with their own, “Yes, but you DON”T go!”
Perhaps Nike’s ad slogan says it best. “Just Do It!”
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