Like many of us, I was brought up with parents who repeated cliché statements they meant as examples for me to follow in becoming a successful adult. As I went out for sports, or worked on homework problem sets, or learned a musical instrument “Practice Makes Perfect!!” was a mantra I often heard. Then one day I met a professional golfer who gave me a very different perspective. Ben related his experiences with amateur golfers who “pounded golf balls at the range day in and day out” with little or no improvement. Why? Because they were practicing the wrong techniques. They needed coaching in perfection, not just the “same ol’ same ol’” so he told me.
This brought to mind a personal teen age lesson of mine after I rolled my father’s automobile one late, rainy night coming home from Tecate, Baja California, Mexico. Indeed I had been practicing a number of the wrong things. Once I got off probation, which included paying for repairs to his vehicle, each time I got the privilege of driving his vehicle Papa told me: “Try and keep it right side up this time son.”
And now as I work with organizations that are trying to develop and live a zero injury safety culture, they too have to address their old practices and processes that just aren’t good enough to deliver zero error performance. As Ben told me: “Perfect practice makes for perfect performance.” Where do you and your organization need to perfect the “good enough” of the old culture that keeps you from getting to great? Indeed “Good is the enemy of great” and we need to perfect what is no longer good enough for the excellence we now need to achieve.