January 2, 2020

Is perfection unattainable?

Someone else’s idea of perfection may not be the same as yours. In other words, what one person considers “perfect”, others may consider flawed. Consider a polished part made by a robot: it’s perfect based on the standards of the human beings who programmed the robot, but a different robot with different programmers might create a superior product.

Ultimately, our goal as humans isn’t to mimic machines but to accept the natural state of things in life and learn to work with them. The process of creating and developing a product or service is always going to be a give-and-take relationship. The end result is based on what we feel is right, but that feeling may not be mutual where others are concerned.

What if everything was seen as perfect in everyone’s view? Don’t you think that would result in fewer improvements in products and services? As well, feedback wouldn’t be seen as necessary, resulting in decreased productivity; people would have little incentive to attain better results and help the organisation maintain a competitive advantage.

Given the speed at which business moves today, perfection has no place in the world for entrepreneurs; weighing the opportunity cost of perfectionism would only slow down progress toward success.

If you want to stay relevant in today’s business world, shifting away from the perfectionist approach can take you a long way. Traditionally, organisations would design and redesign, test and retest products or services until they were “perfect”. However, nowadays, if you wait too long to launch a product, by the time it reaches the market it will already be outdated or obsolete.


Turning Toward Agility


Peter Diamandis, the American engineer, physician and entrepreneur, notes that successful businesses today are leaning more toward an agile design strategy. Basically, operable products with sufficient features to satisfy users are brought to the market quickly. Once the product is launched, organisations can then gather feedback from the users to learn what is valuable to the customer. Social media and other channels are making this easy, fast and effective. Then they can refine and develop the product or service to make it better.

Waiting for the “perfect” launch will only cause setbacks. Striving for perfection is a good thing, but a business is better off when it has a culture where people take responsibility and act promptly to respond to market feedback and needs.

Of course, products need to be reasonably good when they are launched, and businesses also need to be open to criticism if they want to improve those products. Frequent tweaking might seem like a tedious approach, but it drives quality when people welcome the idea of adaptability and change.

This shift in attitudes doesn’t come easily to everyone, but it can be taught. At my company, the YourNextU programme provides thorough context for individuals seeking to develop agility and business innovation, to ensure that the correct methods are followed. Adjusting the work culture and attitudes of people in line with these approaches is essential to bring about effective advancement.


Transform Your Mindset


It all starts with you and your mindset. Imagine looking at a rainbow and noticing that one of the colours isn’t in line with the others. Rather than soaking in the beauty of nature, you’re only looking at its flaws. We tend to forget that everything in life has imperfections, and without them we wouldn’t be motivated to make things better. In fact, we need errors so that we can learn, accept change and expand our skills and knowledge.

In our culture, we tend to be highly goal-oriented, making sure everything is splendid and meets requirements, which isn’t a bad thing, but are we losing the capacity to allow our thoughts to wander? According to an article by GreaterGood, allowing your mind to wander serves as a foundation for creative inspiration, developing better problem solvers.

With that in mind, individuals will be able to sharpen their intuition, gain confidence in pursuing what will be the best possible outcome for the organisation as a whole. Yes, striving for excellence may seem like the way to go, but it is vital to ensure that your efforts are based on what’s best for the company or product, and not because you feel uncertain or anxious about rejection or loss. Thus, acknowledging defects and welcoming transformations needs to be an important part of our agile future.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC – Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@new.seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa. Explore and experience our lifelong learning ecosystem today at https://www.yournextu.com