As great as it would be to take the time to really dig deep into the complexities surrounding a problem and all its possible solutions, watching our budgets and the pile-up of other issues is usually enough to force us to act quickly. Actually, it’s not really a matter of the money. In today’s business world, many decisions mean I’ll generally have to go with my gut or seek advice because problems need to be solved quickly, and although solutions aren’t always perfect, they’re good enough to move forward.

And there’s nothing wrong with settling for something “good enough.” People will judge you on how quickly you figure out a solution and whether you’re thorough. But then they expect you to move on. This ability benefits you and your business because people look to get past problems and move forward to project and program final goals.

Sometimes problems are masked as opportunities to learn, improve, and optimize. Early on in my career with Marketing General Inc., we had a client for whom we were organizing a direct mail package to recruit new members. Unforeseen issues and roadblocks kept cropping up one after the other, and the final mailing date was much later than originally planned. Instead of mailing everything out in August – the original mail date, we ended up not mailing until early October. As you might expect, the client was very upset because they thought they were losing money from our delay, and I thought my job might be in peril.

Imagine my surprise when it turned out that mailing in October doubled the results of former August mailings! After all that stress and worry, here I was with a possible breakthrough. The next year, to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke, we tested out the theory that mailing in October yielded better results, and we were right! The problem that had me worried about losing my job was now making me look good, as if I’d known all along that delaying the mailing from August to October was a good idea that would benefit the client.

Problems are not to be feared. They just need to be dealt with smartly and efficiently. And sometimes, the solutions and choices we make open our eyes to new opportunities.  

Over the years I’ve worked with many associations, and I know how risk-averse they can be, but problems are inevitable, and avoiding them won’t do anyone any good. It’s better to try something that’s good enough rather than do nothing: a perfect solution can be time-consuming and unbelievably elusive.  

Of course, with time and experience, you learn to identify patterns in problems that speed the solving process. Now when I encounter a problem, I might see something identical or very similar to what I’ve seen and dealt with before, and I don’t have to think hard about how to proceed. 

My advice to you is not to let the “perfect” stop you from finding “good” solutions to your problems. With time and experience, the “good enough” will do just fine!

President at Marketing General Incorporated (MGI)

A widely-known industry expert, Rick Whelan is President of Marketing General Incorporated (MGI), now celebrating its 40th year. As company president since 1998, he has developed creative strategies for clients and is responsible for the organization’s overall direction and guidance. A past recipient of the Association TRENDS Partner of the Year Award and the DMAW Award for Distinguished Achievement, Rick is a frequent presenter and speaker and has authored numerous articles on association marketing.

A widely-known industry expert, Rick Whelan is President of Marketing General Incorporated (MGI), now celebrating its 40th year. As company president since 1998, he has developed creative strategies for clients and is responsible for the organization’s overall direction and guidance. A past recipient of the Association TRENDS Partner of the Year Award and the DMAW Award for Distinguished Achievement, Rick is a frequent presenter and speaker and has authored numerous articles on association marketing.

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