RSS Fast Is Better Than Perfect

In this “musing,” I am taking a somewhat controversial stance in hopes of provoking a healthy dialogue.

I find that business decisions often need to reconcile the competing demands of quality and timeliness in the output of a business product or service. Companies that manufacture a product must maintain consistency by seeing to every detail. Without a quality product they wouldn’t be in business. Likewise, companies that deliver a service must ensure quality experiences in order to cultivate a loyal following. The most desirable outcome of providing these top-notch products and services is recurring business, or even better, customers advocating on behalf of your business.

If you are in a leadership position, which do you prioritize – quality or timeliness? Just play along with me here and think about where you currently focus your time. Do you spend your time evaluating projects and initiatives to see they’re done correctly, or do you obsess over the customer experience? In all likelihood, neither you nor I put the same amount of energy into them all the time.

As a businessperson and a consumer, I find that what matters more than either of these is creating exceptional results. I become a fan of a company when it not only meets my needs, but also delights me in some unexpected way. Most businesses that I frequent would describe me as a satisfied customer, and in most instances I am. However, to some, I am more than that – I’m their advocate.  I become an advocate because of how quickly and efficiently they were able to serve me. While I would like to think that business owners obsess over every detail, I know they cannot possibly do this. If a business devoted so much time on perfecting every detail, it would cost too much to do business. As a consumer, I don’t demand perfection; I demand results.

Today’s takeaway: timeliness may indeed be better than quality. To me, if your product or service is “good enough,” and you deliver it with an efficient and unique business model, you win. If you create an absolutely perfect solution, but are too slow to deliver, you lose.

I look forward to readers posting their own views on this topic!


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2 Responses to “Fast Is Better Than Perfect”

  1. JoAnne Jamieson says:

    Hi Mitch!
    Overall I totally agree with your writing. However I would like to make note of my personal experience. In certain situations expedient service is preferred, for example, check out lines and restaurants. In others I want perfection, as in mechanics, surgeons and pilots.
    But that being said, overall my encounter and perception are most likely based on how I am received or greeted. If I am made to feel unimportant or insignificant the performance with be mediocre at best!

  2. Mitch says:

    Thank you very much for your post, JoAnne! I wholeheartedly concur that neither perspective is appropriate 100% of the time. To reinforce your comment even further, if I had to go into surgery, I don’t care how long it takes, I want the procedure performed perfectly! — Mitch

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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