The Tricky Lure of Perfection

Orville and Wilbur were fierce competitors against Sam.

Racing for the title of First Flight, of course.

Orville and his brother Wilbur were intrigued with the idea of flying.

They thought of different ideas and did some testing … in a wind tunnel they built. Shoestring budget. Built their aircraft with some help from friends. Lots of bruises and crashes as they flew– or attempted to– in uncertain winds.

Sam had an ample budget and was lauded in the press. He hired experts in their fields and tried to control the test conditions as best as he could– calm winds over a nearby river, for example. And he was seen as the “favorite” because of his apparent advantages.

So why did Sam lose?

Because he was trying to make things go “smoothly”. Smooth air. Smooth design process. Smooth test flights.

And that’s not real life.

(Rocket Science Note: Laminar (smooth) airflow creates a LOT of lift. But all it takes is one bird pooping on your wing to make the air go turbulent. And if you planned for perfection… well, you’d be plunging into Langley’s river of choice right now.)

In your business, you will see more success if you understand– and plan for — those “uncertain conditions.”

Not everyone will buy your product.

Not everyone will join your team.

Your parent company won’t avoid all problems.

Face it, you won’t avoid the unpleasant stuff by trying to be perfect.

So inoculate yourself and your teammates, so they are prepared to handle imperfection.

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

P.S. Even if Langley “flew first,”  his vehicle would need to cover the Wrights’ scenarios — landing on solid ground, handling uncertain winds– before becoming a viable method for flight.

#TheRocketScienceCoach #LynnSelwaTRSC #WrightBrothers #111thAnniversary

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