The case against perfection. (Pareto was right).

The Pareto Principle says that 20 percent of the effort yields 80 percent of the results. Similarly, many of my friends and clients have heard me say, “Perfect is the enemy of good enough.” I’ve seen a couple good variations on that recently.

“The Done Manifesto is a set of working rules based on a sense of urgency.” These rules aren’t for every industry – you wouldn’t want them applied to nuclear plant operations or brain surgery – but in the creative sector they can light a fire under the seats of procrastinators and perfectionists.

In my business, we used to obsess over printed materials that had to be “perfect” because they were so expensive and had to have a long shelf life. You can change web-based content immediately and infinitely. Having something up there online, however preliminary, is often better than having nothing at all.

This article about koshering the White House kitchen for a banquet appeared in the December 14, 2011 New York Times. In it, Rabbi Shemtov showed similar view of perfection: “We are very careful, we are meticulous but we are not O.C.D.,” he says. “Otherwise, no one would ever get to eat.”

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  1. Reply

    Great point, Shar — we often find ourselves obsessing over details that few would ever notice. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes on that topic: A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem. (albert einstein)

  2. Pingback: Are you a good listener? Here are 10 clues | Douglas Communications Group

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