The Quotient of the Marginal Kilojoule:

that point when enough information is quite enough.

I know a lot of perfectionists. There’s something quite honourable in never quite settling for second best or second guess. I suspect there’s something career-disciplined about it; people who deal with calculations, formulae, completely defendable justifications. I’m not one of them; my life is more about abstract than absolute, and I’m quite comfortable with that.

But for the perfectionist: what’s the threshold you set in decision-making or justification? The point where enough is enough? Sure, another day could refine the numbers further and move another micromillimeter toward proof; running another model could prove or disprove….

There’s the point where the additional effort, the ‘marginal thrust’, simply won’t generate any benefit greater than the effort expended; or the delay or inconvenience of remaining static remains justifiable.

Your people will likely want to deliver the organisationally best for you. Let them know that ‘best’ also involves timely, reliable, substantiable, and ‘enough’.

At the end of the day, remind them that everything is up for challenge. A proposal considered 100% complete will be challenged to the same extent as one at 90%. So the quotient of the marginal kilojoule in decision-making is around calculating the benefit or otherwise of taking longer than necessary to justify or rationalise an option or decision. It’s the incalculable benefit of not reworking, remodelling, recalculating a proposal ro business case to get it 100% right, over the inevitable of rework anyway.

As a guide:

100% right today may not be 100% right tomorrow – that’s the dynamic world we live in – get over it.

There will always be opportunities to improve and build those into the execution – know when to stop.

There’s a natural point where the extra effort will not produce a greater benefit – know the limit.

Sometimes decisions just come down to personal choice and preference and the logic to support it is irrelevant; that’s just life – not always good life, but life anyway – know your audience.

Just know the point where the extra effort and energy is simply a waste.