Perfect is the Enemy of Done. Good is the Enemy of Great.
Like many professionals, one of the weaknesses that I’ve had to battle in my life and career is perfectionism.
Perfectionism can be a strength because there are times that every detail matters, especially when producing a product or service that could harm people if every detail is not 100% accurate.
In aviation, for example, this could be the pre-flight maintenance checks on an aircraft. This needs to be perfect as there is little or no room for error.
The key is being aware of these times while being able to let go of perfection when it is not necessary.
Over the years, I’ve learnt that perfectionism can kill productivity by preventing people who have plenty of talent and ability from getting things done.
Nowadays, in many instances, I’ve adopted an approach of finishing things to the best of my abilities leaving room for continuous improvement, or KAIZEN, as the Japanese say.
It’s important to learn when greatness is required compared to when satisfactory will do.
At the same time, we must fight the complacency that can appear when we are good at something, which stifles the extra effort that would allow us to be great.
Consider your tasks and projects and decide what is required in each case – Perfect, Done, Good or Great.