I Hate Myself for Loving You – A Story About the Difference between Good and Great

Ever work with a vendor that was decent at what they did, but never great? Ever feel that something just wasn’t right but you couldn’t put your finger on it? You sat there thinking “ why do we use these guys? “ but you can’t raise an objection because it’s good enough and besides the people who made that decision years ago aren’t going to change the vendor that they selected. Everybody’s fingerprints are all over the murder weapon except yours. What to do?

It’s expensive changing vendors after a long relationship. After a year together in a high touch services integration engagement the effort of switching to another vendor is painful to even think about. What’s the difference between good and great? Here’s the difference: your career; your company’s financial performance; and the collective future history of everyone employed at that organization. That’s what’s at stake.

The short story is that great companies don’t settle for relationships like the one Joan Jett describes so accurately in her song. Mediocre. The relationship where doing OK is good enough. The reporting is incredible and leaves you wanting more….but the execution is average at best. You have so much time and effort put into working with that vendor that it doesn’t make sense to differentiate good from great.

Here’s our spin: Don’t settle for good. Make sure you get great. And when you get great hold onto it. Once upon a time I did a spreadsheet to illustrate what the difference between good and great did to the financial performance of a client. Not just the usual Pipeline, Projected Sales and ROI that we are all used to, but what would happen to the company’s future valuation. The difference? It impacts financial performance in the third year by 2.8X. By the 5th year it’s an astounding 7.1X.

So why be good when you can be great? Like Joan Jett says in her song it’s easier to stay in an existing relationship than move on to a better one.


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