What if perfectionism was dead? What would that give you? What would change in your work? What would be present for you? What would society and organisations look like if perfectionism didn’t run us?
Covid-19 forced us to get resourceful and move quickly, we didn’t have time to analyze every task and aspect of our jobs. We let go of perfectionism because of the pandemic. How has it been working for you?
So, have we let go of the “perfect” way to do things? Have we let go of the notion, “This is how things should be”? Have we embraced ambiguity?
I’m not sure about the answers to these questions, but I do know that we have faced different challenges this year and we are all finding new ways to be, both in business and in life.
Perfectionism comes from a drive to want to do well. This is common among High Achievers and I know it well! But what I have grown to learn is that you can have the drive to want to perform well AND embrace your mistakes. You actually have to be willing to put your work out into the world and understand there may be mistakes, otherwise your work will never be out in the world.
There is more than one consequence of perfectionism, I discussed them here on this podcast episode. But for today, let’s focus on one consequence.
Perfectionism slows us down.
Businesses all over the world are constantly changing and adapting, especially now in Covid-19 times. Strategy and planning are absolutely necessary, but do you know at what point is the planning and testing for new products good enough? Or are you stuck in perfectionism and slowing everything down?
Don’t let perfectionism slow you down. It is time to let go of not having the best tools, the right people, the perfect strategy or the perfect checklist that has a million items on it. It is time to trust yourself and your team that you know what is absolutely necessary to get your product out into the world quickly.
It’s time to ask yourself:
What’s the minimal viable product?
What does “good enough” look like for this project?
What’s the most important feature your product needs to provide to your customer?
I ‘m not asking you to forget about the smaller features, keep them on the backlog focus on the essential. Ask yourself: Is this ‘good enough to launch’?
It is so important to prioritize the minimal viable product because it saves you and your team time. Change is happening at such a rapid pace right now, if you take too long before getting your product out into the world it won’t be relevant anymore! And if you have the MVP, you can always add more features to it later. Or, like my clients, you might find out that your MVP is the perfect solution for your customer. Being stuck in a perfectionist mind does not bring momentum.
A few years ago, I was accompanied a group of senior leaders to learn about frugal innovation in India. For five days, they observed Indian companies. It was an eye-opening experience for them! They went back to their CEO and said they needed to shift the culture of their company to ask “Is it good enough?” They had been under the impression that they needed to do more for their products to be successful when in fact what they learnt was 80% done was more than enough for their customers.
Perfectionism can cost us time and money. It can be easy to get sucked into wanting everything to be perfect, it happens to me! When that happens, instead of focusing on the big picture, I focus on tiny details and every little check box I need to complete.
Perfectionism is the ongoing and fruitless effort to always do something right.
If you want to be agile and innovative, you have to let go of your perfectionism. One simple way to do this is to start asking yourself –