Progress Trumps Perfection

Striving for excellence & moving forward is definitely more important than aiming for perfection. The way our world works is that we rarely have enough time to do the many things we want to do – what more if we demand for perfection from ourselves or others. Set your goals, be realistic, set time limits, learn how to deal with criticism and enjoy the process of working towards your goals!

Progress Trumps Perfection by Nan S. Russell
Source

In the late 17th century, Lord Chesterfield, an English writer and politician, wrote to his son, “Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.” Three hundred years later, we still heed this advise from the fourth Earl of Chesterfield. Yet doing it well doesn’t mean doing it perfectly. The 21st century workplace requires more than doing something well.

More accurately, today’s adage should be: “Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing.” That’s the secret people who are winning at working know. It’s action, not inaction, practice not theory, and progress not perfection that builds success, achieves results and actualizes dreams.

After hearing me speak at a professional conference, a young woman sought me out. She was struggling with this concept of progress over perfection and asked for advice. “How do you do it?” she asked. “How do you accept something as finished when you know it could be better?” She proceeded to tell me that she was managing a project that was over budget and nine months past the deadline. Her boss had made his displeasure clear. Yet, she struggled. “If only I had more time to do it right,” she pined.

Here’s the thing. There’s a difference between doing your best under the circumstances, and trying to achieve perfection. As a person who, at times, has perfectionist leanings, I understand doing things well. I know there is always more you can do to make it better, grandeur, niftier; always more to add, augment, or debug; more ideas, more tweaking, more revisions to make it close to the illusionary perfect status. But, I’ve learned in twenty years in management, in order to survive and thrive, progress trumps perfection.

If a toddler didn’t walk until she could walk perfectly; the musician didn’t play until he was accepted by the Philharmonic; or the inventor didn’t invent until she had a multi-million dollar product, we’d think it crazy. And it’s no crazier for us. Whatever our work, we must move it forward to get results. Our work is a work in progress. And so are we.

People who are winning at working test and pilot and risk and even fail sometimes. They evolve a process, an idea or a product bit by bit, laying elements to build a strong foundation. Perfect is not the goal. Results and progress are. As the saying goes, “Better is the enemy of done.”

You see, sometimes the message is more important than the vehicle that delivers it; the idea more important than the packaging, the work-around more important than the ultimate fix to the problem. Sometimes it’s not. But that’s a judgment call.

So unlike many who spend their days trying to make something perfect, people who are winning at working spend their days making progress. Making progress, any progress, fuels their motivation, creativity and energy. It builds their momentum. And it ignites their results. Want to be winning at working? Make progress.

Have an excellent (but not perfect ;)) week ahead!

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Just a lil F* Up

This post is NOT SAFE FOR WORK

Apologies to those who commented in the few prev posts which are no longer visible as some spring cleaning was done to remove posts containing nothing more than fluff. Some other changes as well (Click on the updates tab for more info). It’s been a very long 3 weeks, yet I have this feeling that something good is going to come out of all this in the end.

F*cked up:-
– One-eyed politicians whose dicks get more work than their brains before talking
– Misappropriation of public money on frivolous expenditures with no returns
– Corruption from the big fish to the small fries swimming along in broad daylight
– Political parties with personal agendas & wide-spread racial segregation
– Policies & announcements which on reading or hearing of makes one shake one’s head in disbelieve at the senselessness

Changes:
– Like most things requires champions & a top-down yet hands-on approach
– Be who you are whether the sun is shining bright or its night & the shades are drawn
– Reward in public, criticise in private (different people require a different approach)
– Leadership is strongly linked with visioning, decisive decision making & energizing others
– Determine the goals, set the KPIs, go & get go!

Question
So what do you thing is the most f*cked up thing around? (yes I’m asking this question with a straight face)