Last weekend, I read about a small business asking their team members to evaluate two options regarding their work schedule. The majority didn’t find either option to be perfect, but also could not come up with the perfect option either. They picked what they considered to be the better option and called it a win. Reading about this reminded me how much energy is wasted on perfection instead of progress.
I often catch myself celebrating new ideas a lot more frequently than progress. Seeking perfection is a necessary evil for improvement but way too often it steals the spotlight, butchers effective goal setting, and kills morale. When searching for the meaning of perfection I came across this quote from Stephen Hawking that hits the nail on the head “One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist… Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”
In other words, when you ask yourself if something is perfect, the answer is always a no. If you are determining something’s value based on whether it’s perfect, then all you will find is imperfections. You will discard absolutely everything. That is not practical.
I find that magic lies in recognizing the progress. Here is a better question to ask: is our new problem better than our old problem? When we ask the right questions like this, we make room for the reality of imperfection—because there will always be problems! It’s guaranteed. This approach gives us the opportunity to track progress more realistically and identify ways to improve things even further. I’ll give you an example. We regularly review our computer care stack so earlier this year we started looking at our cloud backup service. We don’t always find something better but this time around we located a service that has few more important benefits. However, it fell short on its monitoring capabilities which made it a lot more labor intensive for our team. Needless to say, we called it a win for our clients because of features such as unlimited storage and backup history instead of eliminating it off the list. Eventually, with the help of our magician, Daniel, we were able to build a layer of code that simplified monitoring for our team and we are now at a much better place then were we started.
Do we have the perfect backup solution now? We already know the answer: we don’t! Sure, we now provide a much better backup service to our clients but the new monitoring system is still more labor intensive and the code needs regular updates. However, when you ask the right question (is our new problem better than our old problem), the answer is YES.
We can now celebrate the success of this progress and look at ways to tackle the new problem.
Problems can also be a sign of progress. Recognizing and respecting the difference is a key element of success. No business will expand infinitely without getting any bruises. No individual will jump freely from one accomplishment to the next.
So, what was the last decision you decided to make even though you knew it wasn’t perfect?
See you next week
– Burak Sarac, Team Lead
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