Good is the Enemy of Great
John D. Rockefeller famously stated, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” Jonathan Ive, the senior vice president of industrial design at Apple Incorporated, modified the line of thinking in his famous quote, “good is the enemy of great.” The quote was used as the first sentence of the first chapter of the New York Times best-selling book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.
One might ask, “Why is good the enemy of great?” The good mentality accepts a standard of excellence that is less than the best but is considered good enough. It is an infectious mentality that spreads like cancer. Governmental agencies are plagued by performance thinking that “it is good enough for government work.” The good mentality also breeds a sense of satisfaction and complacency. Good mentality thinkers accept that while their performance may not be great, it is also not bad…if fact, it is better than most. Such a mindset dooms both individuals and organizations to mediocrity.
The great can only be accomplished by pushing the boundaries and doing things differently. The same processes will lead to the same outcomes. Excellence is accomplished by those who abhor “good.” It is accomplished by those individuals and organizations who cast off the ordinary and reach for the extraordinary. It takes discipline, passion, determination, and intelligence to achieve greatness. It also requires a willingness to work hard and take measured risks.
Weatherford College is currently at risk of becoming typecast as a good college. We were recently ranked as the number one community college in Texas. Many tremendous things have been accomplished and the tendency is to step back and admire those accomplishments. Rather, now is the time to press forward and to achieve things that have never before been achieved. Now is the time to use our momentum to surge ahead and build an even greater institution. The iron is hot and now is the time to strike!
I suspect that Weatherford College is not the only organization in our area that is in danger of becoming just another good place. Today, I publicly pledge to you that as long as I draw breath as the 20th president of Weatherford College, I will dedicate myself and this noble institution to absolute excellence. Our students deserve nothing less.