When ‘It’ Is Not Good Enough

When ‘It’ Is Not Good Enough

3 MinutesIn Blog

Chris Young on Tim Ferris episode number 173

What do you do when ‘it’ is just not good enough? Do have a pattern? Do you ‘send it’ and hope for the best? Or do you ‘not send it’ and constantly worry about it? Or do you ‘not send it’ and forget about it, wait to be asked, make an excuse? Do you ask for help?

This awesome pod cast by the inspirational science-based chef Chris Young tells the story of him working at The Fat Duck in Bray, with celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.

One of the famous dishes is a quail jelly. In usual Blumenthal style, there are layers of ingredients involving pea puree, truffles, an intense quail stock, langoustines cream and so on.

Chris had not got prepared early enough and when he tried to float the langoustines cream on top of the finished dish, he knew it was not perfect. He sent it anyway.

As Chris said, Heston boomeranged these dishes around and back to the kitchen. There was no way that Heston Blumenthal was going to let these quail jellies that were nearly perfect go out to the customers.

The lesson Chris learned was that we can always do something else rather than get it right. If something is not ready, we can send it out and hope no one notices it is not right.


We hold the standard. We can ask for help. We can fix things. We do whatever is necessary, but we do not cheat.

The question is whether we are training people to ask questions, to ask for help, to try and fix things? Or whether we are training people to read the CEO’s mind on whether nearly perfect is good enough.

We have to train our teams to problem solve in ways that do not involve second-guessing what we as the boss may want. Especially as an entrepreneur, where we have to strike the balance is always going to be something we are learning. We must become a tyrant in terms of perfection but as Chris says, we become “an a£$%hole” if we go too far.

On a good day we make sure we always ask the question ‘what context does this person have?’ Do they have the right context and then make a bad decision, or are we expecting them to have information they, in fact, do not have?

You have to make a lot of space in your calendar for Tim Ferris podcasts as they are generally over an hour long, as he sits in discussion with entrepreneurs.

But they are superb for creating thinking time, learning lessons and – most refreshingly – people being willing to share what has not worked as well as what has.