Are we there yet? When do we arrive at Perfect?
8th October, 2014
I was pondering the topic of “perfection vs perfecting” (as you do)… following a particularly progressive coaching session.
Sometimes a helpful stance can be to say “It is the best it can be for now”. If we wait for “right now it is the best it’ll ever be” we could be waiting a while.
Think about it… of course as time progresses we might be able to spot loads of improvements in our previous work, because our insights and skills will have moved on and in all likelihood we will have a different set of resources and circumstances to work with. As soon as we launch anything it is already becoming outdated, that is part of the excitement of being expert learners in a changing environment and it keeps us on our toes.
Client-delay whilst waiting for perfection is perhaps one of the greatest self-imposed business and personal limitations professional coaches work with, certainly when assisting less established businesses (and often within personal change work too). This is one of many forms of procrastination and it can be the cause of not only delayed progress, but also significant missed opportunities where markets shift and where there is always somebody else willing to take action.
If you have ever seen a product or service in your market which is selling well and thought “No way – our prototype A, B and C are all “far better / more efficient / more creative / more sustainable” etc. than that, let alone prototype D that we are currently working on”, all the time failing to recognise that you have, in reality, not launched your “not quite there yet” options, then this wake up call is for you.
Shhhh our product / service is a secret
How can the market know about your secret product and service – if you have failed to give them this choice and potentially missed the boat? Your competitor meanwhile is already evolving, working on feedback from real customers and building those relationships now. Life (and business) is experiential… we learn and adapt through testing and refining and for many businesses the best place to do that is out in the real world, involving clients and customers in the process of ongoing perfecting.
Naturally where patenting and intellectual property are at stake timing is key – yet even in these situations there can be needless “dithering” (a technical term used by advocate-onlookers).
Now let’s be clear here and please don’t get me wrong… The “It is great right now” approach is very different from “it’ll do, let’s settle for”. The general frame I am taking is that we are conscientious, creative and credible professionals who are already doing our best. It also assumes that we have excitement rather than apathy for our creation (if we have lost interest then naturally this will impact upon our desire to share). With that foundation, whatever we offer to others would certainly not be something we: are dissatisfied with, perceive as a second rate or something that puts others at risk (those are baseline requirements that do not fit in the realms of perfection seeking).
This is simply a reminder:
Be Brave – If you think your market is ready ask “if not you, who?” This will require a little courage – which is luckily something we all have within us and something we can nurture – so dig deep!
Be Positive – Attend to what you CAN do, not what you can’t do. Whilst your attention is on what is holding you back, you will only see limitations and barriers. How can you move forwards – begin to take tangible steps!
Be Clear – If you think you might be ready to go – ask “if not now, when?” Committing to “when” is really important step – a woolly “when” serves nobody.
Be Bold – Ask “how can I let people know about this?” Launching something requires communication and visibility… Do or do not (as Yoda says) there is no “try”. Be committed in presenting your creation / idea / service / decision wholeheartedly – hiding it on the back page of a website for example (known as a “soft launch”) will not necessarily attract a flood of responses – make a splash!
So – how will you know the difference between measured caution and “dithering?”
If you look in the mirror and see any signals that suggest you might be delaying or looking for excuses for inaction … you might be right. If you hear more than once “what are you waiting for” from trusted professionals and peers, they might have a point.
Put yourself in turn, into the shoes of a trusted peer / stakeholder and then most importantly into the space of a potential customer… Take time to experience their points of view.
What are these people thinking and saying and what do they need from you, your product and your service? Do they even know it exists, let alone being able to assess where it matches their requirements and their agenda? Do they know exactly what you can offer and / or how they can help you? How and when can you commit to truly engaging them?
Some stages on the path to shared voice are:
Awareness and Understanding – How can you make it easy for them to become aware of your offer? Are you helping them recognise what exactly it is, what it does, how it is relevant and how it is different?
Believing in – Have they grasped the broader benefits of both your product / service, but also of you as the provider? Have they connected with you to recognise why you / your company are the best choice?
Committing To and Acting Upon – Are you assisting them in making your service / product a facilitator of their success? “Who, how, where and when” questions can help here.
So in Essence?
Waiting for “perfection” creates inaction… We are always “perfecting” it is a term that has fluidity and hence positive potential.
Your “today’s perfect” is possibly pretty awesome and therefore worth sharing… accept that a “tomorrow’s perfect” will be even more exciting (and informed by today’s)… and that is OK!
What are you waiting for? Let’s go!