Perfect Is the Enemy of Good (Enough)


Perfect Is the Enemy of Good (Enough)The world around us is moving fast, and the expectations of the entities and people that are part of our respective value chains could best be described as “heightened.” Some of this may be a result of changed digital profiles from the pandemic. Some may simply be a result of greater operational transparency or a willingness to challenge the status quo.

Whatever the root causes, the lesson learned for insurance carriers is that the pressure to improve moments of truth with clients, distribution partners, suppliers, and employers has never been higher. 

These thematic elements were showcased at the recent LIMRA Annual Conference in Chicago, where the three-dimensional nature of heightened expectations was highlighted. Demographic shifts are underway, and what aligns with the needs of one generation may be contrary to the needs of others. Brand equity that plays well in some segments may have little or even negative value in others. The useful life of technology investments is getting shorter, in seemingly ironic alignment with attention spans.

Testing, learning, failing fast, reveling in new insights…then rinsing and repeating…are part of the new pathway to success. While being in a highly regulated industry introduces its own form of speed bumps, that’s just a detail to address and not an excuse to avoid taking the journey.

Culturally, many insurers have wanted to focus on getting perfect answers rolled out to address operational problems or opportunities. In a world moving as quickly as ours is now, this proves to be an elusive goal. Combined with the notion I shared in Chicago that the concept of “done” is an increasingly quaint but irrelevant idea, the stage is set to either think differently or suffer adverse outcomes.

Of course, this is all true in our personal lives, too. I have perfected the art of reading to grandchildren via Zoom calls during the pandemic, combining laptops and the Amazon Kindle app. It works brilliantly. But, while traveling recently, I got a request to read but didn’t have the right hardware in hand. In a perfect MacGyver move, I discovered that I could simulate the desired effect by displaying the book on an iPad and showcasing it on a FaceTime call run off an iPhone. It was not as slick or smooth as the normal, “perfect” mode, but the howls of delight confirmed it was more than good enough.

Creativity, curiosity, and a willingness to try and fail are all elements of future-state success. And one success naturally leads to another.

If you’d like to explore more from my discussion in Chicago, or discuss ideas on remote support for extended family engagement, I can be reached at [email protected].