This post will clearly be grouped in the quirky “observations” from my transition category.  But first, heartfelt thanks to all of you for the wonderful outpouring of comments and ideas around this launch.  The volume of emails that I’ve received has been enormous.  You’ve given me incredible ideas on how to take Novofemina forward.   More on that in the weeks ahead.  For now, I thought I’d share a chuckle…and an observation.

The last place I’d expect to get an epiphany is at the deli counter at our all-too-humble local grocery store.  But here it is.

I walked into our local Stop and Shop – jogged really since I was multi-tasking to grab food while on the way to pick up someone from somewhere.  I quickly noticed that everywhere in the store employees were fixing shelves or pulling merchandise.  Something was clearly up.

My 1st stop was the deli counter.  So as I ordered my Boar’s Head All Natural deli products I asked “what’s up?”  “The big wigs are coming from the Netherlands” said the proud slightly-portly deli manager.  He shared that he’d had a recent promotion.

He recounted the following:  The store had been renovated in the past year. From my perspective it went from a dog-eared “to be avoided” outlet to an “o.k. to stop at” for basic food stuffs.  The renovation closed the store for 5 weeks.

Anyway the big wigs were stopping by because they wanted to tour an outlet whose sales were up “10%”year-over-year.   <Truthfully, I really don’t remember the exact number he told me but it is in this neighborhood.>   The “wigs” were coming because they viewed it as a victory with a capital “V” – his words.

Here is the view from my side…every time I walk into the store I see such a MISSED OPPORTUNITY.  While they are celebrating 10%+ they seem to be missing that they could be experiencing a 300%+ if they’d knock down the store and build a new one.

Then it hit me: the perfect answer is to start again.  But the honchos at the Stop & Shop aren’t looking for perfection – they’re willing to celebrate their 10%.

I am amazed at how often I process an idea in my head with a series of “no’s” because I’m trying to get to 100% – or 300% for that matter. Are we ok with a 10% improvement?  For the guys at Stop & Shop it was worth a plane ticket to Boston from the Netherlands.

Where do we get this perfection trap?  Has it ever affected your thinking or progress?

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  1. I’m not going to address the business model of renovating Stop N Shop! Sometimes it’s my impatience that gets me wanting perfection, an uneasiness with doing things incrementally. Sometimes I think it’s just life experience and age and “wisdom” that has me blurting out something that may end up being over-the-top self centered and insensitive to others’ perspective. Most of the time, though, I wish I were MORE concerned with perfection and not so willing to accept mediocrity!!

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