Well, it was my turn to smile in recognition today whilst reading the excellent Selling the Invisible — A field guide to modern marketing by Harry Beckwith. In the section, ‘Planning: The Eighteen Fallacies’, Beckwith writes, ‘You can easily get stalled in the shift from strategy to tactics because you are paralysed by your desire for excellence.’
Doing something you care about more
How right he is. So often, I have fiddled and tweaked pieces of design work — in books, brochures, logo designs — in an effort to make them perfect. In my design company I would spend hours trying to produce the perfect design for our clients. I would work into the early hours of the morning in my efforts to get the job ‘just right’.
What I didn’t know then, and I know now, is that my customers didn’t recognise the difference between 100 per cent perfect and 80 per cent good. They were completely happy with 80 per cent. I could have finished earlier and gone home to my family. I should have done…
Perfectionists, take note
So. If you too are a bit of a perfectionist, heed Beckwith’s warning: ‘The planning process tends to attract perfectionists. But something paralyses them: their fear that executing the plan will show that the plan was not perfect. So rather than risk being found out, they do nothing. They wait.’
He concludes, ‘The path to perfection leads to procrastination. Don’t let perfect ruin good.’