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The Balance Between Practicality and Perfection

Setting up our new office, I spent most of a day under the desks doing cable management. I know from 20 years of owning a business if you don’t get the cables set up the way you want them when you first set up a desk, the unholy tangle under the desk will only continue to get worse.

My wife and business partner think I am obsessive; I consider these details critical to the way in which we work. These are the fraternal twins I care about — Practicality and Perfection.

Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time working on details of systems, processes, and programs that few others will see. Because of our nature, we want things to be perfect. Practicality is the child who gets bored; insisting that we finish up our task and move on. Perfection is the child who will dawdle; delaying progress to the point of exasperation.

You must remember that in the pursuit of perfection, the details may never be perfect—but in your quest, you are going to achieve excellence.

How you pursue your work and how closely you pay attention to details reminds me of how God wants to order and manage your steps.

Psalm 37:23 reads:

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly, he delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” (NLT).

Your life and business thrive on details. It’s important to pay attention to the details, but not at the expense of practicality—except where it matters. The balance between the two must be appropriate to the objective.

For the aerospace engineer, details are everything. Failure isn’t an option because people’s lives depend on the details. Attention to details is practical and required, but the result may never achieve perfection.

For the business leader, practicality sustains prosperity. Details are critical to the pursuit of excellence, but is perfection necessary to what you seek to accomplish?

My father often reminded me: “Sometimes good only has to be good enough.” As I’ve practiced his wise guidance, I remind myself, “Don’t over-invest in the outcome.”

What would my father tell you?

Keep moving. Don’t let perfection get in the way of excellence.

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