It’s OK not to be perfect!

I have a workmate who has brilliant ideas. He comes up with things to improve processes or generally make tasks easier to complete. First I gave him free range. “Make it happen!”, I said to him, “and show me what you’ve done next month. Let me know if you need anything or get stuck.”

A week went by and nothing obvious did happen. Another week went by with no visible progress and I talked with him about the idea. It turned out he was still collecting information and exploring details. The rough idea he presented had for him not enough detail to actually do something with it. It turned out that he wouldn’t do anything about the idea until he had the perfect picture, knew 100% details, and all processes were defined.

In reality that was not going to happen. In an ever changing business environment processes change, responsibilities change and people do their jobs differently.

In my experience you cannot have all details to make a decision, the information at hand has to do or a limit must be set defining the boundary for the decision process. Those limits are usually time, budget, or the level of certainty required for the decision.

It’s important to act in a timely manner then you control the change, you can innovate, you can improve the process, service or product. If you wait for the perfect information then someone else will do it or it never happens while you own that problem.

So, it’s OK not to be perfect to get started. But it’s essential having the awareness which are the shortcomings, guesses, and assumptions. You need to follow up with a short improvement cycle. Listen to your customers and fix those issues quickly. Correlate the feedback with your list of things that need doing. Then plan accordingly.

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