Perfection is overrated06 July 2018 ‐ 2 min read
In order to build a business that grows and becomes better, chasing progress is better than chasing perfection. Renier Kriel, CEO of 4i, shares on why perfection is overrated.
Although I have confidence in the formal education system and the value it adds to individuals and organisations, I am of opinion that one of the biggest downsides of the system (and the way it works) is that it can create the perception that something is either right or wrong. Think about it… you either know enough to pass and then pass, or you don’t and you fail. Whilst this is probably good enough to qualify if someone has knowledge about a certain topic, this kind of thinking does not lead to building a business that grows and becomes better.
Here is why;
Our environment is constantly changing
The connectedness of the world makes our environment in which we operate change faster than ever before. Knowledge sharing allows perspectives to be changed faster making our world smaller and smaller. This means that our working environment, customers and the technology itself changes daily. Thus, trying to craft the perfect process, solution or methodology is like chasing a bus that never stops. By the time you are done crafting what you believe is the perfect solution, the environment would have changed so much that the large amounts of time spent is mostly wasted.
There are new things to learn every day
As you go on the journey of improving something or crafting something amazing, you learn new things about that which you are working on, and feedback is the #1 mechanism in helping you learn. Feedback gives you insight as to where your time is spent and/or how effective you are spending it. What you want to do is accelerate the process in order to get feedback as soon as possible. This way you learn faster which helps you shape the process or product faster. If you are not learning in the process whilst building, you are not building significantly. Anything innovative that adds value, be it a product, process or service, uses the learnings and feedback gathered in the process of building the final outcome.
What you are doing is unique
Competitors? Yes, you have competitors. Yes, there are people that can do what you do, and yes there are people that can do what you do, better – that is a fact and that is fine. However, no other company does it quite the same. This means that no matter how many examples you look at and no matter how many case studies you read or courses you study, you cannot implement and copy their processes because you are not the same. That doesn’t mean you cannot learn from this, quite the contrary. You can always learn from other companies by understanding the purpose behind why they do things and this has the potential to inspire you to craft your own unique processes where it makes sense.
What does this mean practically?
Perfection is overrated! Let’s forget about perfection, because what you should be focussing on is progress. Going forward, your progress and your rate of progress should be the most important thing. If you are progressing you learn, and when you learn you build better solutions, processes and products.
Perfection is overrated was inspired by a LinkedIn post from James Clear.
You will notice that if your intention every day, is to get only 1% better than the previous day, after a year you will end up being almost 38 times (or 3800%) better compared to a 97% drop should you decrease by 1% every day.
I believe that if spend every day trying to be perfect is a day you decrease, while every day where you identify an area where you can increase by 1%, and keep it going, you will see the momentous growth that the graph illustrates.
The question you should be asking yourself is this, what can you incrementally improve on today?
1James Clear (2018), Tiny Gains [Online]. Available: https://jamesclear.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/tiny-gains.jpg?x32321 [Accessed 6 July 2018].