Managing Partner at Blue Book Ventures. Inspirational Business Leader, Workplace Pundit, Best-Selling Author & Venture Capitalist
A Little About Me
Richard A. Moran is a San Francisco based business leader, workplace pundit, bestselling author, and venture capitalist. He is best known for his series of humorous business books beginning with bestselling, Never Confuse a Memo with Reality and is credited with starting the genre of "Business Bullet Books."
A new word has entered the business nomenclature. Trendy words and phrases come and go and some stick around longer than others. See: Think outside the box. The new word snuck into the business world jargon while we were still getting synergized and checking our bandwidth. It shows itself so often now that we don’t even hear it anymore. The word is PERFECT.
Here is how it is used: Me: I’d like to make a withdrawal from my account please.
I am thinking, it’s not perfect. Perfect would be if I was making a big deposit. Or, here is another recent interaction at the auto dealership.
Me: Is my car ready?
Car dealer cashier: Yes, it’s ready, the bill is $1,770.
Me: Ugh. Here is my credit card.
I am thinking, no, perfect would be if the bill was zero or better, if you paid me. Like caught in a trap, I found myself recently using the word:
The IT guy: OK, your laptop is ready and you lost no data.
Me: Ahhhh, perfect!
I like things that are perfect but very few things are, in fact, perfect. In fact, in business practically nothing is perfect and most of us don’t even try for that state. Good enough might be the goal. Hey, “Good enough” used to be in the jargon and served as a response to things too as in, “I’ll be late so start the meeting without me”. And the response might be, “Good enough”.
No matter what we say, “good enough” shouldn’t be the goal but “perfect” shouldn’t be the goal either. Perfect as a goal can prevent us from moving forward. How often have you heard statements like, “The website isn’t perfect so let’s wait” and two years later the crappy old website is still up waiting for perfection. But good enough can’t be a goal either because it can indicate that only the bare minimum required has been met. Give the choice between the “good enough” or “perfect”, “perfect” might be better.
The word “perfect” in business may have replaced the word “awesome” and that could be an improvement. Just recognize when it comes to providing a service; “perfect” is hardly ever achieved so set your expectations and that of the customer. Although if I ever go in for brain surgery, I hope that perfection is realized.
It happens in all professional sports for both men and women. Every year at certain time the players move around. Right now it is happening in the U.S. in basketball and baseball. Players are moving around like playing musical chairs. Dynasties are breaking up and being rebuilt and there are winners and losers. It’s a marketplace and players earn what they deserve. But hey, we all have talents and we are all in a marketplace. Why not the rest of us?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have an agent to shop us around to the highest bidder and best match? Wouldn’t it be nice to claim, “I only want to work with my friends?” Wouldn’t it be nice to sign a long term contract? Wouldn’t it be nice to say fifty million dollars is not enough?
The dance of the free agents has a lesson for us. We are all free agents. Most of us don’t have a famous representative talking to other teams but we can be our own agent. We can be the agent who asks for more money and a better situation or looks for a trade. Maybe we don’t have to suffer on a bad team.
Influencers are everywhere today. Every celebrity is an influencer. Some cats and dogs are influencers that make a lot of money. As influencers, athletes can change the trajectory of a team. Crazy Grandmas and every teenager with a camera is an influencer. Every person in marketing knows that snagging a big influencer is the key to success for any consumer product.
A follower sent me a message…
Dear Mr. Moran, your recent post changed my life. I was desperate for a change and with just a few simple words you were able to motivate me to change jobs and examine my relationships. I suspect when you write your posts you don’t know the affect your message can have on people. Keep up the good work.
It was not the first time I received a “life changing” note. I am proud to be an Influencer on LinkedIn and know that because of that, my views may get more attention than others but when it comes to life changing, I am not sure I can bear that burden. My intent is not to change lives. The messages in nearly all of my posts are: Take control of your own career; enjoy your work; and stop doing stupid stuff. For life changing advice my inclination is to direct people to more heavenly sources. But the email reminded me that we are all influencers and we need to own that responsibility.
We are all influencers as a time and a situation intersect to hit a nerve.
You don’t have to be an author, a leader or Richard Branson to be an influencer. Every manager and colleague is an influencer and so are you. You may never know who you might be influencing but you are through word and deed. Has someone ever told you, “You had a big impact on my life”?
You never know who will influence you. It could be a teacher, friend or someone you met on the beach or on an airplane. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes and can hit you with influence when you least expect it. Have you ever told someone, “You will never know the impact you had on my life”?
Like your mother said, “he or she is a bad influence on you.” Not all influencers are positive and it is incumbent on you to glean from the good and bad. Take influencers with caution. You can make your own decisions whether it is about the four-hour work or how to trade in Bitcoin.
Here is my response to the email:
I appreciate and am honored by the fact that my post may have changed your life. I suspect there were many factors that helped you make decisions and that I was only one small sliver of your decisions. I hope you are on the right track for you and that you find inspiration in lots of places, and maybe a few influencers as you go through life.
Choose your influencers carefully. My own go-to influencer is Paul Newman. He was cool, brave, had a sense of humor and always managed to do the right thing. Find your Paul Newman and ask yourself, “what would he or she do?”