While coaching someone recently I had to impart the difficult concept that as leaders, sometimes doing the right thing, can be the wrong choice. The situation that came up revolved around perfection and the stance being taken was it was wrong to release software to the client, if it wasn’t perfect. While the idea that we don’t want to release a defective product to the customer is valid, there is also a lot to be said for the idea that perfection can never be obtained.
The reason this became an issue during coaching, is that the individual being coached had earned a reputation as being a primadona. He often stubbornly stuck his heals in the ground and refused to move on to other tasks while he “fixed” what he thought was broken. We’re not talking glaring problems here, but minor things that were often considered either working as designed, or not critical to moving forward.
I explained to him that his pursuit of perfection was hurting his reputation at his company. Ironic isn’t it. Most of us would love to have someone on our team who pursues perfection. However, in this case doing what was intuitively right (pursuing perfection), was the wrong thing to do.
I then went on to try and explain that if he wanted to get promoted that he was going to have to change the way he looked at things. Leaders have to look at the big picture. Pursuit of perfection would be nice if we had unlimited resources and time. But… we don’t. A leader has to make decisions on where to apply resources to ensure the project gets done.
All the best,
All the time,