Why perfectionism is bad for business
Lately, I’ve been trying to tease out the concept of perfection. As a word it looks benign, even beautiful. Perfect, we say, to greenlight an idea, to validate a contribution. It’s something we are driven towards – for those of us who value excellence, this drive is in our DNA.
Perfectionism, however, carries a few sinister undertones which deserve our scrutiny. Working in the realm of the human, as the vast majority of us do in some form, holding perfectionist principles is cause not for celebration of achievement, but becomes a sanctioned way to find fault. This low-level disapproval, over time, robs us of the joy we might take in our work. It affects our appreciation of our team members’ contributions and leaves us tasting dissatisfaction on a regular basis.
What’s worse, perfectionism hinders growth. In the process of development, speed and agility is key. Clinging to perfectionist principles actually creates a barrier to adjusting our course when something isn’t working. We need immediate action and experimentation rather than focusing on any pre-ordained ideas. Changing course mid-process is a difficult but often necessary decision to take, and the problem with perfectionism is that it provides a handy excuse rather than being open to the action required in the moment.