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    Entries in good enough (7)

    Wednesday
    Jul172019

    What society expects of you

    In recent posts I’ve mentioned the expectations we can have:

    - of ourselves

    - of others.

    There’s a third. It’s what we perceive society expects of us.  

    - Society ... you know, other people. Them. Those people over there.

    We can worry a lot about what people think of us. What will they say? How will they perceive us? These worries can become huge filters, censors and constraints to our thoughts and behaviour. They can cause us unnecessary doubt and make us procrastinate, second guess ourselves and reject some of the great things we attempt.

    We can also worry that we ‘should’ be doing better ... or more or higher or faster or longer or neater or cleaner, than we are.

    These are the three types of perfectionism and expectations, all on the increase in the world right now:

    - Of ourselves

    - Of others

    - What society expects of us.

    All of this pressure, piling up, making us overthink, overwork, lose sleep and get stuck.

    Next time you feel stuck or find yourself judging your work or ideas, check in on which of these three types of perfectionism could be at play. 'Seeing it' is the first step to finding ways around it. 

    Wednesday
    Jul172019

    A high expectation of others. 

    I’ve been posting on 'ish', the practice of good enough and the challenges when don't know the standard we're going for. But what about others?

    Unhappy about the work someone has done for you or a service delivered to you? Perhaps it didn’t have the right information, didn’t look right or wasn’t the way you expected.

    The increasing problem the world has with perfectionism isn’t just about the standards we have for ourselves. Our expectations of others is a problem on the rise too.

    If someone hasn’t done a ‘good enough’ job, you absolutely must clarify the expectations you had ... and the expectations they had. We're not so great at doing this.

    Instead we talk due dates, timelines and deadlines with little to no regard for quality, fidelity or standard. If you 'manage expectations’ in your role, it's not just managing other people’s expectations of you.

    It’s also about you managing your expectations of them. Don’t be difficult about it. Be clear. The ‘are we on the same page’ metaphor is worth working on until you really are on the same page. 

    Wednesday
    Jul172019

    Go for excellence not perfection

    Excellence says 'good'. It's the act and output of excelling with good qualities in high degree. Yet some parts may not be excellent and these we hope will be the parts that don't really matter or those that can be improved over time.

    My mother, Shirley, put a little sign in our family home years ago that read: ‘I may not be perfect, but parts of me are excellent.’ This is what it's about! Parts of our project, task or activity could well be admirable, impressive, grand and outstanding. And other parts...may be less than that.

    Industries that have established 'Centres for Excellence' - in my local region - include Science, Child and family health, Disability, Railways, Youth mental health, and Automotive.

    These sectors know that everything isn't perfect but parts of them are excellent; the parts that matter.

    They want to improve and get better with both the parts that are already excellent and the parts that need to be a bit more excellent!  

    Let me know what you think. Could you go for something like ‘iterative improvement’ or ‘progressive excellence’, rather than trying to make things perfect?

    Friday
    Jul052019

    Good leadership means knowing when to go for 'good enough

    Good leadership means knowing when to go for 'good enough' - for yourself and your team.

    An article in CEOWORLD magazine explains how increments and iterations are the new perfect.

    How do you do it?

    1. Set a course for good enough rather than the pointless pursuit of perfection.

    2. Stop expecting or requiring perfection. Accept first drafts, rough cuts and mock ups. The design industry and many other sectors thrive on them, gaining early feedback, ensuring efficiency of work going forward.

    3. Make the standard clearer. Great leaders clarify the end goal or outcome, beyond a generic call for ‘high quality or ‘really good’. Explain the standard in a measurable way.

    4. Improve over time. Allow learning, iterations and insights to build on first attempts.

    The best and brightest organisations know the power of improving over time rather than expecting perfect. Most of all, assess whether you can go for ‘ish’ - somewhat, near enough - on more things, where near enough is good enough. Is 'ish' feasible, doable or acceptable? It’s a major productivity gain and it’s more motivating for teams when they complete work.

    Friday
    Jul052019

    Careful how you answer this popular job interview question!

    Next time you’re preparing for a job role interview, think carefully. If a potential employer asks the classic question about weaknesses, what will you say?

    Many people offer in response to the ‘What’s your greatest weakness?’ question that they're a perfectionist. They think it still sounds positive, not too bad a weakness.

    Saying you're a perfectionist can sound like you're a hard worker and that you have high standards. But beware! Perfectionism isn’t turning out to be a good trait after all.

    Recent data from PhD researchers Curran and Hill have uncovered that perfectionism is on the rise globally and it's a behaviour that's not making us feel good about ourselves nor helping us bring our best to a job role. Perfectionism has links to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, migraines, asthma, insomnia and plenty of other nasties.

    It's time to stop putting our hand up for something that isn't helping us or a potential employer.

    What's a weakness you'd rather share in an interview ... that's not perfectionism?