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“Are You Waiting For Perfection?”

Are you waiting for perfection?

I was in a conversation about a year ago with a potential client who had reached out to me. He was talking about all the recent change in his organization, and how he was waiting for everything to finally settle down. “What happens then?” I asked. “Oh, we’ll finally be able to move forward on “X” and “Y” (variables added by me). Apparently, “X” and “Y” have been on hold for years.

“What’s the plan if things don’t settle down?” I asked.

He looked at me like I’d just spoken in tongues. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, things never settle down. People join teams and leave them. Organizations solve one challenge and then another presents itself. Priorities and program offerings change. The environment and consumer trends change. If ‘X’ and ‘Y’ are a priority for you and the organization, they need the attention now, because there will never be a ‘settled down.’ So why not create strategy to be successful with them now?”

He demurred. I ran into him about a month ago. Things still haven’t settled down. And “X” and “Y”? Still on hold, even though he still says it’s vital that they get done.

Many people throughout history have talked about the importance of not waiting. William Butler Yeats said a quote I like: “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”

You may think the best thing to do is to wait until near-perfection — when you finally have the perfect team before you attack your objectives. The perfect funding before you start the project. The perfect product before you show it to anyone.

But it’s the imperfection that keeps things both challenging and interesting. Scale back your goals, and start now. Adjust as you learn. Stay scrappy and agile, so you can take advantage of smaller opportunities along the way.

This week’s mission:

What objective has been sitting on the sidelines forever? Let’s not wait any longer. What would it take to get it started, even on a small scale? Take the first step beyond concept this week. Create some actual work product on the project, and then evaluate the next three steps.

Warmly,

Ron

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