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The Terrible Quest for Best

by Joshua Rapoza
December 8, 2015

The Terrible Quest for Best

by Joshua Rapoza
December 8, 2015 | Comments (5)

I hate Best.

There, I said it.

I’ll scream it: “I HATE BEST!”

We are all so focused on being the Best that we lose focus on getting Better. I will take Better over Best every time.

Best Practice, Best This, Best That…

Best is temporary, Better is constant. Think about it: Best by its very definition implies that it is final. Better is not, Better is a constant movement. Sure, there are times that Better is movement backwards but it is still the push to move forward.

We can’t be the Best at everything, but we can all be Better at everything. We can always improve - there doesn’t have to be an end to Better.

Does this apply to what you are doing? Do you have a plan to be the Best? Better? Do you have a plan at all?

As I travel around and meet people in this great community, I see people in all sorts of stages of lean: people just starting, people far into their journey, and of course the “experts.” I worry when they tell me how their processes are the best. Hubris is an improvement killer.

With the New Year right around the corner, let’s try and make a resolution we will keep. We will make things Better. Improve the work, create problem solvers, but most importantly, make things Better.

I hope you find this to be one of my Better posts, I certainly hope it’s not my Best.

Need some inspiration for this? Check out John Shook’s e-letter, Work.

Josh will be the co-host for the 2016 Lean Transformation Summit in Las Vegas. Learn more about the event at: https://www.lean.org/Events/2016_lean_transformation_summit.cfm

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
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5 Comments | Post a Comment
Kelly December 08, 2015

Very well said. 



Reply »

Charlie Payne December 08, 2015

What's wrong with being "The Best?"

If I continue to get better every day, can't I eventually be the best?  If I'm the best, don't I have to continue to do the things I've done to stay the best?  Being the best is the result of my actions, isn't it?

To use a sports analogy:  if a football team goes 0-12 for the year and then goes 2-10 the next year, then you could say they got better.  But they're still a bad football team.

If I'm the best team, I'm going to get everyone's "A" game every night.  If I don't play my best, don't practice my best, don't focus so that I continue to improve, I'm going to get beat and then I'm not the best team anymore.

As Voltaire said, "The best is the enemy of the good."



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Gina Bautista December 14, 2015

I agree!  Always strive for improvement, to learn, to grow.  A rolling stone gathers no moss!  Don't be stagnant.  How does a company grow and expand without growing skills and knowledge of it's employees?



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Jim January 14, 2016

so do your best to be better



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Dave Mills January 14, 2016

We need to be the best and to get better. If you're just focusing on being the best then you yoú're in good shape today but who know's about tomorrow? If yoú're just focusing on getting better then you are making progress but your competition may have catapulted by you. How many newspapers were getting better and are now out of business?



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