Why the good is the enemy of the great

Settling for good is the enemy of greatness because it prevents us from achieving our potential.


Tony Hackett


a blue and white sign that says unlimited signifying good to great
a blue and white sign that says unlimited signifying good to great

The phrase "good is the enemy of great" was first introduced by Jim Collins in his business book "Good to Great". The idea behind this phrase is that when individuals or organizations settle for good enough, they miss out on their potential for greatness

But why is this the case? Why does settling for good prevent us from achieving greatness? There are several reasons why this happens.

Settling for good can lead to complacency

When we achieve a certain level of success, it's easy to become content and stop pushing ourselves to do better. We may think that we've reached our peak and that there's no further room for improvement. However, this thinking can be dangerous because it prevents us from striving toward even greater success. We must always be hungry for more to achieve greatness and never stop pushing ourselves.

Settling for good can prevent us from taking risks

It's easy to get into a comfort zone when things are going well and stick with what works. But taking risks is often necessary if we want to achieve something great. By playing it safe and sticking with what's familiar, we may miss out on valuable opportunities for growth and innovation.

Settling for good can lead to stagnation

It cannot be easy to evolve and improve over time when we get too comfortable with what we're doing. Things may start strong, but eventually, progress will slow down or even stop if we don't continue striving toward greatness.

Settling for good can prevent us from being adaptable

Adaptability is critical to survival and success in today's changing world. No matter how successful we may be, things can change - new competitors could emerge, or technological advancements could make our current way of doing things obsolete. If we strive toward greatness and adapt, we avoid falling behind and becoming irrelevant.

So how can we avoid settling for good and strive towards true greatness? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Continuously strive for improvement: No matter how well things are going, business leaders should always look for ways to improve and push themselves to improve.

2. Take calculated risks: Be bold and try new things or take on challenges that may seem daunting. Calculated risks that won’t impact the level of quality can often lead to great rewards.

3. Embrace change: Rather than resisting change, embrace it as an opportunity for growth and evolution.

4. Stay hungry: Never become complacent or content with where you are. Always stay hungry for more and keep pushing yourself to achieve greater heights.

In conclusion, settling for good is the enemy of greatness because it prevents people and companies from achieving their true potential. By striving towards improvement, taking calculated risks, embracing change, and staying hungry, we can avoid falling into the trap of settling for good enough and achieving something great that rewards our efforts.