I was on the Executive Committee of a body that had on it very bright thinkers. The Committee used to meet on the second Monday of every month. The meetings were memorable as much for depth of discussion as for follow up failures! I remember one session to discuss and plan for a major event about five months away. Promotional material had to be prepared and a proposal from the Chairman of the subcommittee had to be approved.
Several alternatives were discussed. One was selected and the Chairman was authorised to get the job done.
Quick decision making, I thought, At the next meeting the Chairman came up with an even better alternative. There ensued a debate on the new, better proposal versus the old and eventually the ‘better’ was accepted. The Chairman was again asked to go ahead. At the fourth meeting, a member fresh from a foreign trip brought a breathtakingly beautiful brochure and thus an even better proposal popped up. Meanwhile, the event was fast approaching. A few days later, the Chairman hastily pieced together some material from the different proposals and mailed it. Of course, we had a ‘review’ meeting a month after the event. Forty per cent of the target group did not get the mailer in time and of the rest, one did not know how many had cared to read it.
Looking at many organisations I often recall this unending battle between the bright and the brilliant, the good and the better with neither winning in the end. Of a thinking organisation that does not act .Of still born ideas and wasted opportunities.
I think it was Stephen Covey who had said ‘Best’ is the worst enemy of Good’. I think I am beginning to realise the wisdom of his words!