The Good Enough Principle Pt. 2

Monday, I talked about the trend toward things being “Good Enough.” It’s happening in electronics, music, TV and many other disciplines. The question before us then is this; how does this impact my work as a church TD?

Monday, I talked about the trend toward things being “Good Enough.” It’s happening in electronics, music, TV and many other fields. The question before us then is this; how does this impact my work as a church TD?

For starters, I’m re-evaluating how I spend my time. In the past, I would labor over pretty much everything I did, trying to make sure it was as good as it could possibly be. As I think this through, however, I find I’m spending my time getting something good enough, then moving on to the next thing. What I’m finding is that I get a lot more projects done and no one notices the difference.

What’s important to note is that good enough doesn’t mean bad or mediocre. Good Enough does not mean that I’m doing sub-par work.  Good Enough means that the job is done in such a way that the vast majority of people will say, “Wow, that’s really good!” Real-world example--how many of you sound engineers have had a conversation like this:

Random Congregant: “Hey, the music sounded great today!”

Perfectionist Sound Guy: “Oh it was OK. The room is a bit peaky at about 2K, and the subs are sounding a bit muddy. We need some bass traps to soak up the 80 Hertz build up in the back and the side walls are creating a nasty flutter echo.”

RC: “Huh, uh well, I thought it sounded great.”


In other words, it was good enough. We could repeat the same conversation with lighting designers, video engineers, graphic artists, presentation techs and service producers. And that’s not a bad thing! As professionals, we should notice the things that are not as good as they could be. However, we need to step back and not put undue emphasis on the finer details that almost no one else will notice.

This is not to say that we should not bother trying to make things better. Often times, the things we fix are noticeable, but most people lack the language to describe them. For example, last week our Sr. Pastor passed along a message that the music was too loud. In fact, from a SPL standpoint, we were right where we should be. However, the room had gotten a bit harsh in the octave centered around 2.5K. We tweaked the house EQ by a few dB and when I checked in with him afterward, he said it was much better. Now, I still hear things that drive me nuts and that I want to fix. The challenge is that getting to a more noticeable improvement will take a lot of time and a lot of money. So for now, it’s good enough.

I could start lobbying for a whole new PA and significant changes to the interior structure of the room to make it sound better. But given that we have a failing lighting system, and a video system that’s not doing what we need it to, we need to live with good enough for the time being.

I know of a church that stresses the fine points so much that they will evaluate the service transitions down to the second. Between services, the service producer is known to say, “We need to get him out there 2 seconds earlier--the transition wasn’t tight enough.” And they literally mean 2 seconds. Is 2 seconds earlier perfect? Maybe. But I can pretty much guarantee you that no one in the congregation will notice. When we put our volunteers and staff under that much pressure to get that close to “perfect,” we do ourselves a great disservice.

I could expand on this a lot more, but then this would turn into a book chapter (which it just might...). In lieu of that, what do you think? Is Good Enough good enough? What have you been killing yourself over that you need to dial back on?