How To Create A Culture Of Imperfection

A perfect cross into the penalty area.

A perfect product launch.

A perfect presentation.

No glitches. No deviation from the intended purpose.

How often does that happen?

Rarely if ever do we actually achieve precisely what we had intended. There are simply too many uncontrollable and unpredictable variables in play that impact the planned outcome.

The environment is too complex to cultivate perfect results; where the deviation between intention and result is ZERO.

Success is impossible under these conditions; the rules to accommodate chaos and the unexpected must be re-written.

Significant accomplishments are ALWAYS imperfect and that striving for perfection is a waste of time.

Success is the consequence of responding to the unexpected with moves that continue to track forward, but morphed by the influence of the surprise.It is based on minimizing the degrees of imperfection between intent and what has to be settled for. Recovering from an unplanned blip on the execution radar while maintaining the original sense of purpose.

Adopt these 3 acts of imperfection and you will not only achieve more success, you will also be well on your way to creating a culture that gets things done.

1. Change organizational expectations from “getting it right” to “being close enough”. If it’s ok to accept a few standard deviations from achieving a flawless solution (on paper), more workable outcomes will be realized, spawning greater employee engagement and a rise in creativity and motivation.
Plan ‘A’ is rarely achieved yet a disproportionate amount of time is spent trying to achieve it in the face of unexpected forces that render the goal unattainable.

Transfer the energy and focus to preparing for disappointment and what should be done to recover when it happens.

2. Appoint more leaders who have a proven track record of achieving amazing imperfect results by inching along and conquering surprises along the way. It’s not about academic pedigree; rather the proven ability to outdo the unpredictable and messiness barriers that are integral to anything worthwhile achieving.

3. Have a continuous conversation throughout the organization about the imperfection definition of success in contrast to how academia typically defines it.

Success is not determined by a formula; it doesn’t depend on solving an equation with a number of assumed inputs.

That’s the point. The inputs CAN’T be assumed given the uncertainty that every organization faces.

Teach employees that the outcomes will always be different than the formula suggests and that the critical action to take is to start down the implementation road and welcome the unexpected forces that will determine the concluding destination.

Get it approximately right and iterate to a conclusion that works in your particular circumstances.

That’s the practical route to not only succeed, but to build a culture that is driven to accomplish things not wait (and wait and wait…) for a perfect scenario that doesn’t exist.

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