Business Leaders Should Not Optimize Everything

Good enough is sometimes better strategy than perfection.


Many highly admired business leaders want everything perfect. That sounds good, but in most cases it’s wrong. It’s wrong because the business leader’s most limited resources is time—his or her own time as well as the time of subordinates. Even though they work very long hours, they run out of time to make everything perfect.

CEOs may push their subordinates to optimize every decision, but those managers, in turn, bump up against their own time limitations. Perhaps the optimize-everything goals get pushed down the ladder, but eventually the lower level managers run out of time.

The optimum solution is to not optimize everything. A good summary of that approach was discussed in the Tim Ferris podcast interview with Derek Sivers (at 1 hour 5 minutes in). The alternative is to pick just a few things to optimize. For personal…

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