WHAT ARE YOU AIMING FOR: PERFECTION OR COMPLETION?

by Paula on April 28, 2011

wickes-overlap-pent-shedThey say opposites attract and when it comes to getting DIY done around the house, you could certainly say my husband and I are opposites. You could also say that although we have opposing methods, neither of us would achieve our goals on our own.

In the early days of us meeting, some 12 years ago, I had bought a flat-packed shed from B&Q to put up in my garden and he kindly offered to help. We both had the same goal: shed standing and ready for use by the end of the morning. Our methods however would be very different.

My approach: Open the box, get the tools, start hammering things together and then half way through the morning dissolve into tears when I realise that I have come across a vital piece that I needed to do first.

His approach: Make a cup of tea, read the instructions, make a plan, make another cup of tea, check the pieces are there and lay them out, then pop off to Wickes to buy an additional tool that might be helfpul, make another cup of tea….reach lunchtime….no shed.

As you can clearly see (and I have learnt a lot since those days myself!) neither method would have helped us achieve our goal. His focus was on PERFECTION, my focus was on COMPLETION.

This episode came to my mind this weekend when after an hour of him painting an undercoat on the wall and having achieved coverage of 1 square metre, I took the brush off him, told him to leave it to me and finished it all 2 hours later – yes, job done (but not to his standard…)

It got me thinking…

 There are times when Perfection is vital and the time comes secondary because what you are creating requires a high level of attention and finish. Then there are times when this attention to detail is unnecessary and it’s important to set a deadline and focus on getting the job done. The difficult part is assessing which jobs fall into which categories.

I see it all the time with Social Media. There’s Camp A who just want to do Social Media, have a Facebook page because they know they should, and tick the box of being on Twitter with no real idea of what they’re hoping to achieve and why. Then there’s Camp B who want to fit what they’re doing with their business personality, time, and goals and make sure that what they are doing is of great quality and represents them well. Sadly there are more people in Camp A and as a Camp A-er myself when it came to shed-building I can see that this is not the place to be for Social Media.

A neglected, shoved-up social presence which is unloved and offers nothing is about as use as a shed with no roof, a door on backwards and…..

No no no – I knew you were wondering. My shed turned out great! We worked together (argued only occasionally!), he read the instructions while I got out all the stuff, then I chivvied him on when he ventured towards the kettle, I convinced him Wickes wasn’t necessary & the tools we had would do, and together with the right blend of motivation and planning we ended up with a picture perfect shed….

So take a look at your Social Media endeavours. Was your aim getting the job done, or was it having a social presence to be proud of?

If you’re concerned that by making completion your goal, you took the wrong path, it’s not too late. Get in touch and I’d be happy to help you steer things in the other direction and make sure you get your activity back on track.

{ 4 comments }

Julie April 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Paula I love this blog. I’m firmly with you in camp A when it comes to shed building. I was practically buried under a self-assembly wardrobe one day last summer when I noticed the “NB – required two people for assembly”. Sadly I’d sent my husband out with the 5-year-old to get hiim out of the way!
I absolutely agree with you about use of social media too – too many people think that simply having the profiles in place is enough. Success takes a bit more effort. I completed my wardrobe for the cost of a few bruises and broken nails, but I had to do a bit of rebuilding to get it absolutely right!

paula April 30, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Thanks for your lovely comment Julie. It definitely takes the right blend of “getting on with it” and “planning and thinking” to be able to get a job done well and on time. Glad your wardrobe got there in the end :-)

Kevin Leighton April 29, 2011 at 10:55 pm

In business, as in life it is too easy to over analyse and think about the hows and whys of a particular exercise which leads to prevarication and the job just not getting done.

Sometimes, when given an option for a particular course of action, it is easy to sit back and think of all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it. This could be because you’re still not sure how something will turn out even though it is something you desperately want to do or maybe because there are other things holding you back and you feel that the course of action may somehow have an adverse effect on the status quo.

It takes me back to the early days of writing essays for school or reports at work when you’re sat there with a blank piece of paper and the golden rule was to ‘just start writing’.

In then end you do often just have to start something without all the analysis. It does mean that sometimes things don’t come out perfect but it does mean that things get done and you can move onto the next job before you know it.

paula April 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Thanks for the comment Kevin. I remember the phrase ‘paralysis by analysis’ and if there is too much attention on planning and preparation it’s possible to never have the confidence to get started. A start without fully knowing the outcome can sometimes be enough to help us see the path forward. Learning as you go is never a bad thing, and I think than in these examples it does demonstrate the value of teamwork in making progress so we can make use of our differing skills.

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