Good Enough

I’m back in Nantwich for a couple of days before heading off to the Ideal Home Show – Scotland. It’s the first time in three weeks, and I’m looking forward to seeing my team and hearing how they have been getting on. Fingers crossed everything has been running smoothly!

One advantage of spending so much time away is that it fosters independence amongst each member of staff. I’m not the kind of manager who is looking over their shoulders the whole time. I trust them to be self-motivated and have been very lucky that they have all responded so well to that kind of environment.

Driving back from Devon, I was talking with Justina, and we were discussing our ethos on getting work done. Both of us are perfectionists, which frequently causes problems in our working relationship and often stands in the way of getting the job done. Do you recognise this problem and share the personality trait?

When we are obsessive about something being “perfect” it is hard to let go and launch. Often this obsessiveness is a mask for our biggest fear that the thing we are working on won’t be a success. We keep tinkering and changing it in the mistaken belief that just one more update will ensure success.

Perfectionism is a hard pattern to break. Over the years, Justina and I have both learnt that it is more important to get something finished and launched than it is for it to be 100% perfect. Nothing is ever totally perfect; learning to live with this concept was a crucial breakthrough in our thinking. Now we focus on launching fast and failing early, preferably before we have wasted too much money.

When we have an idea, we launch as quickly as possible with the best implementation we can manage in the time. Then we gather feedback, does the product sell, asking customers, colleagues and suppliers how we could improve. Then if it looks like a “goer”, we begin working on version two.

The changes we make for versions two are now driven by real feedback rather than our fears and imaginations before launch. It’s a simple model but has served us well over the last few years.

If you are working on your own project, the best advice I can give you is to launch immediately. Not next week or next month, but right now. Accept the project as it is now, of course, it could always be better, but that’s life. Stop tinkering, put your fears aside, be brave and launch today. Learn to see and understand when something is “good enough”.

It’s a trap to believe that “launch conditions” tomorrow will be better than today, to think that your opportunity or your product will improve. Life isn’t like that. The key to getting things done and living the life you have always dreamed of is taking action right now. As is so often quoted, you must, feel the fear and do it anyway!

Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.

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