A good plan violently executed…

Ed Batista rings the bell again…

“…In Voltaire’s Dictionnaire Philosophique, he wrote, “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.”  The best is the enemy of good, or, less literally, the perfect is the enemy of the good.

And Gen. George S. Patton is reputed to have said, “A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan next week.”

Two quotes I return to over and over again, in my work and every other aspect of life. In our search for perfection, how often we miss the opportunity to “violently execute” (or at least vigorously implement) a plan right now that would be more than good enough…”

From Ed Batista: Voltaire & Patton on Perfection & Measuring the Infinite


  1. Amen!


  2. Try working with a bunch of engineers. To them if it isn’t perfect it isn’t good.


  3. Or artists. Funny that this seems to cut two ways. As you say, in the thrust and tussle of life you can’t dither. Execution almost always trumps the ever-refined but never implemented perpetual plan.

    And yet.

    The very difficulty of moving from good to perfect makes it a mountain top. We are arrested by perfect when we see it. And we do see it. We are tuned to it. I would put to you that most moving great works of art speak of this perfection. I would also put it that the vast majority of unmoving art that is superficially similar to great art is art that stopped at “good”.

    In art, we detect “good”. And we click “next”.



  4. Related to this topic, Patton Also said this about INDECISIVENESS –

    “In case of doubt, ATTACK!!!”

    Instead of waiting to see what might develop, attack constantly, vigorously, and viciously. If you’re standing around trying to figure out what is happening or what the enemy is up to, you are making one hell of a good target out of yourself and your men. Never let up. Never stop. Always attack. “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.”*

    Source – Province, Charles M. Patton’s One-minute Messages: Tactical Leadership Skills for Business Management. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1995. Page 46.

    * Translation is, “audacity, more audacity, and even more audacity.” Audacity, if you look in a thesaurus, also translates to boldness, daring, courage, bravery and nerve. So, when in a position of indecisiveness, “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.”


  5. Also related to this topic, Patton said this about TAKING ACTION and AVOIDING INACTION –

    “Lack of orders is no excuse for inaction.”

    It’s everyone’s job to strive unceasingly toward goals and objectives to ensure total victory. Don’t think that you’re finished just because you’ve reached one objective. Don’t wait for orders to continue the battle. While you’re working and fighting for the current objective, you must be planning for the next assault. History is full of tragic accounts of campaigns lost because leaders stopped on the wrong side of a river, because they didn’t have the initiative to exploit the advantage of a battle just won, and because they failed to obey the basic requirement to constantly be on the offensive. Patton said, “I assure all of my officers and soldiers that I have never and will never criticize them for having done too much. However, I shall certainly relieve them for doing nothing.” When orders fail to come, they must act on their own best judgement.

    Source – Province, Charles M. Patton’s One-minute Messages: Tactical Leadership Skills for Business Management. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1995. Page 55.


  6. Agreed! I learned the essence of the Patton quote from a colleague who was a veteran of the 82nd Airborne.


  7. I often violently execute my plans. It saves me from having to fulfill them.

    Liked by 1 person

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