Skip to toolbar

A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.


I know the word “violently” is off-putting to some, so feel free to substitute “passionately,” “aggressively,” or even “haphazardly” in your mind instead.

A similar quote you might like is, “Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.”  I still prefer General Patton’s, though, because I never see myself as being in a state of inaction. 

I can easily convince myself that all my mental plotting and planning is actually taking action, when it’s really not.  But I can never convince myself that all the gears turning in my head are anything close to actually “executing a plan,” so General Patton gets my butt in gear — in keeping with his well-deserved reputation.

In Business:

It’s often better to be first and mediocre than second and superior.  Remember videotapes?  Beta was smaller with better picture-quality, but VHS was there first and won the battle.

Software developers have coined the term MVP, which stands for “Minimum Viable Product.”  It goes like this:

Here’s the basic problem we’re solving.  Let’s not worry about all the bells and whistles and additional features right now.  Let’s get a minimal viable product out there as quickly as possible, so we gain market share quickly before someone else comes along and becomes the de facto standard. 

Besides, once it’s in the hands of the users, features we thought were important might not interest them at all.  Plus, they’ll provide us with feedback for features that are important to them that we never even considered.

Good enough is good enough!  Let’s just get something out there to see if we’re even on the right track.  We can always polish it up and add some features in version 2.0.

In Life:

Stop procrastinating and get on with it!

One of my favorite book titles is Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson.  His assertion is that most people think of making a decision — “pulling the trigger” on a decision — as if they were shooting a bullet out of a gun.  Once it’s gone, there’s nothing you can do to alter its course.  So you better take your time and make absolutely sure you’re doing the right thing before you pull the trigger, because there’s no turning back.

In reality, he points out, most decisions are more like launching a guided missile.  Once the missile is the air, it must make many adjustments along the way in order to zero in on its intended target (or goal).  The most important thing is that you go ahead and fire the missile.  Only then will you be able to make the inevitable course corrections. 

There’s no sense in leaving the missile sitting on the launching pad while you go over and over (and over) your initial settings.  The fact is, you’re guaranteed to make thousands of adjustments along the way.

So what are you waiting for?  Ready, Fire, Aim!

So remember…

A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.

– Gen. George S. Patton

Related Articles