For some of the more enlightened amongst you, what I am about to reveal to you will not be news - it will be (to them at least) common sense, I have to say that for a while this also eluded me, until I read a book that changed my whole perception of work and life.
How many of us have been told or taught that we should always aim to make things perfect....shoot for the stars. Sound familiar??
Well I have news for you, perfection is for losers - here's why.
Perfection as a commodity is not in demand - period.
This may sound like a pretty dumb statement, everybody wants stuff that they commission or work on to be perfect right ?? Wrong.......Perfect is expensive. Perfect is time consuming. Perfect is merely a millstone around our necks, a rod for our own backs - it stifles and saps our inner energy and creativity.
Okay so what do we strive for, if not perfection?
What replaces it is 'Good enough' and if you really want to go all out 'Good enough +10% - its a fairly uninspiring name for a benchmark I must admit, so perhaps if you prefer 'Perfect enough' might make us feel a bit better about it.
Good enough is a commodity that is in real demand, and is the benchmark level of delivery for everything that is produced or done in the world - its what we all expect.
What's more, the cost of 'Good enough' is way way cheaper than perfection - the gap between the two is impossible to quantify - but it's always more than you expect.
And always remember this.....if you are producing a product of service, most of the time the client pays right up to 'Good enough' - the bit from there to perfection comes out of your pocket!!
The other great thing about Good enough, is that it - as a benchmark will shift according to the target audience.
As an example take the preparation of a evening meal.
To a homeless person, their expectation might be for it to be filling, tasty and hot - pretty easy to acheive 'Good enough' there right?
To a Film star, their expectation will be exquisite presentation, fantastic service, world class cuisine, and probably several courses - a little different to the example above, even though the brief was the same.
The killer realization here is that 'Perfect' would have produced the same dish for both individuals, even though in the first case it will go way beyond what is good enough (and in fact cost wise might represent 10 times the 'Good enough' benchmark.)
I know, this illustration is extreme and a little simplistic, but you get my drift right?
There is a problem here however.........the elephant in the room is that we need to get very very good at defining what exactly 'Good enough' represents.
For some the hankering for perfection occurs for just this reason - the fear of falling short - a bit like kicking a football and hard as you can from two yards out.....just to be on the safe side.
If however you take a little more time at a briefing stage to really get to grips with what the client expects, you will be able to achieve a favorable outcome in a far more expedient and cost effective fashion..........and guess what, the only person who will know the difference is you!