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ish:

The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough’

 

- my new book -

 

 

 

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    Entries in perfectionism (23)

    Friday
    Aug232019

    A deadline is not the only standard

     

    A deadline is not the only standard

    I met a team this week who were working on a task and they were stressed about it, working hard, pushing on, staying back late to get the work done to meet a deadline.

    It was due 6 days later. The only target or standard they were going for was the date, the deadline. And it seemed they were working as many hours as they could until the date arrived. But something was missing.

    We talked about identifying, asking for or clarifying other standards as well as the date, say, the quality required or expected.

    How much?

    What’s required by the due date?

    One page or six?

    Some key headings?

    Raw data or curated insights?

    None of these were known. It was all about the due date. It was full speed ahead, doing whatever they could until time ran out. Other work and priorities they had on fell away.

    We worked together on asking clarifying questions so they could gather more information about the expectations and requirements required for any of the work they're doing. It will save them hours/days of unnecessary work and will dramatically reduce stress levels.

    Overwork, burnout and perfectionism is a growing problem at work. It’s worth seeking out and then going for more than a deadline.

    Thursday
    Aug222019

    Overcooking the work - Overworking the cook 

    It was a reality cooking show and a competitor ruined the protein for all of the meals by overcooking it. In the bin! What a waste!

    This can happen in our everyday life. When we have a task to complete we can keep cooking and cooking it, trying to make it better. Then at some point it’s overdone, overcooked. What a waste!

    It isn’t only the waste of effort; also the waste of energy, time, resources, power, space, people ...

    Even though time is our most precious resource, we often act as if we - and others - have plenty of it. We still get distracted everyday, overcooking, overthinking and overworking, getting dragged deep deep deep into the work of our ‘cook’ - whatever the 'cook' is for you.

    The kitchen's 'rare/medium/well done' scale is a useful analogy to work out how much your task needs to be cooked.

    It’s best to scope out the minimum amount of work required (so you can then test or validate) before proceeding any further. You don’t need to go for well done, initially ... ever.

    Where might you be overcooking something at the moment? Have you checked with others, validated your thinking or tested out your progress? Pause and give it a taste test.

    Sunday
    Aug112019

    Lynne Cazaly - Keynote at Agile Alliance 2019

    What a privilege to be at Agile 2019 in Washington DC and today, to take to the stage and deliver a keynote.

    The topic was ‘ish: The problem with our pursuit for perfection and the life changing practice of good enough.’

    Here's a visual summary of the key points I presented. You can get the book, ebook or audiobook - yes with me narrating - wherever you normally buy your books!

    The bottom line is, perfectionism is a problem that is on the increase. Most of us have a little bit of perfectionist in us. When we are encouraged to bring our whole selves to work, that means we will be bringing some of our perfectionist traits as well. Sometimes that can slow down our abilities to achieve, collaborate and deliver great value to our customers.

    It’s worth our while to find alternative ways of working that don’t involve the pursuit of perfection (which is impossible to achieve.)

    Are you a 'bit of a perfectionist'? 

    Sunday
    Aug112019

    Agile is a way of thinking and working 

    This week I'm at the Agile 2019 conference in Washington DC. Some people think 'agile' or 'agility' are buzzwords or cliches. Well they are if you throw them around trying to sound all ... agile!

    Agile is actually a way of thinking and working that's sweeping the world. And it's not just limited to the tech industries where it started to thrive. It's being applied across all sorts of fields, sectors and industries.

    I keynoted at the conference on the topic of ‘ish: The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough’.

    This week I'll be posting insights and key points from the 18 streams and hundreds of sessions available on agility ... not to mention those magical, spontaneous conversations you get to have at great conferences!

    If you’re stuck in long-term planning mode or taking w-a-y too long to get products and services created and out into the market, you’ll join the list of businesses who aren’t in business anymore! We all have to adjust, respond and adapt to the changes going on in the world and the demands and expectations our customers have. This is being agile.

    How could you be more agile in your role, team or business?

    Sunday
    Aug112019

    Choose satisficing over maximising

    When we're working on a task or activity at some point we need to say, ‘Enough. It's satisfactory. That will suffice.’ 'Satisfactory’ and ‘suffice’ were cleverly combined in Nobel Prize–winning economist Herbert Simon's Theory of Satisficing.

    This decision-making theory says look at alternatives and go with the best. Make a choice. It will do, it is good enough.

    In my book ‘ish: The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough’, ish means somewhat, to some extent. Ish is about satisficing.

    Maximising is not good for us. Perfectionists (called ‘maximisers’ by Simon):

    - exhaustively seek the best options

    - compare everything against others to an unhealthy degree

    - expend excess time and energy, and

    - end up unhappier with the outcomes.

    Ish is the opposite; it's about being a satisficer. We:

    - accept good enough

    - not obsess over the options

    - move on after deciding, and

    - end up being happier with outcomes.

    It's good enough!