Performance Improvement & Professional Development

Choose Excellence – Not Perfection

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:

“Failure Work”

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.

About the Author

Les Taylor is the founder and managing partner of Outperformers International. He is an award-winning author, professional speaker and recognized expert in the field of performance improvement and professional development. Les is a former law enforcement executive, served as the executive director of the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and is a past president of the Arizona Chapter of the National Speakers Association.

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