Greg Brown (Motorola Solutions Chairman) spoke last month at the Rutgers University graduation.  He warned about avoiding the affliction and the danger of perfectionism:

“Whatever you strive for, don’t dwell on constructing the perfect plan or search for the flawless solution, because perfect can be the enemy of progress.  Have the confidence to forge ahead with a good enough plan, with imperfect knowledge.  Then continually adjust, adapt, and learn.” (Commencements: CEO Wisdom, 2012 Edition. Bloomberg Businessweek, 5/28/12–6/3/12, p. 24)

Speaking as a recovering perfectionist, I absolutely agree with Brown’s advice.  The idealist unrealistically expects perfection; the pragmatist realistically accepts the next best thing.  Executing an 85% plan that brings progress is better than pursuing an unattainable 100% plan.

Getting something in motion is usually better than having nothing in motion.  We can always adjust on the fly; we can’t adjust something that isn’t there.

Well, now that I’ve got this post perfect, I am publishing it.—Oops!

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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