As we look back on 2017 and we look forward to the year ahead I want to offer two suggestions regarding what you might want to STOP doing and what you might want to START doing to make 2018 a year of strong performance, high productivity and real achievement.
Here’s something to STOP doing this year:
Alan Weiss is a colleague of mine in the field of consulting. While I’ve never worked directly with Alan, I’ve read several of his books and genuinely admire his wisdom and business acumen. Alan writes about something he calls “failure work.” He defines failure work as work having to be done solely because it wasn’t done right the first time. Failure work is work that never gets off the drawing board. Failure work is expensive and time-consuming and, for the most part, needless. The primary cause of failure work is pursuing perfection.
I have a better plan – pursue excellence instead.
Here’s something to START doing in 2018
Ready – “Fire” – Aim
Instead of pursuing perfection – pursue excellence. Excellence, by definition is about being outstanding or being extremely good. Either way, the outcome will be more than acceptable. Here’s my formula for achieving excellence – “Ready, Fire, Aim.”
When you are pursing excellence understand that anything can be tweaked and improved. When you’re 80% ready – move! Improve as you go. The key is to “Fire!” Make something happen. Get the project moving, get the product out the door, start writing the paper, start the exercise program. Just start! Excellence comes from implementation and refinement – not in striving for perfection.
Will you make mistakes along the way? Yes! So What? Software upgrades and the iPhone are classic examples of pursuing excellence – and, the understanding that perfection is never achieved. Anything can be improved upon – nothing will be perfect.
“Excellence is not a singular act; it’s a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” (Aristotle)
“Excellence is not a skill, it’s an attitude.” (Ralph Marston)
“Excellence is a continuous process, not an accident.” (A.P.J. Abdul Kalam)
So, if you want to make your life, and your career more enjoyable and meaningful, abandon the pursuit of perfection – and chase after excellence instead.