There are times when perfection is important. Having your appendix removed, for example. “Close enough” is not something you want your surgeon even thinking. Taxes. “I’m pretty sure I hit most of the important tax laws” is not a good slogan for a CPA.
At other times, waiting until you’ve perfected something is akin to saying you’re never going to do it.
A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. George S. Patton
So what do you say to someone who is a self-proclaimed “perfectionist”? Who is downright proud of always getting the tiniest detail right? Who is never, ever lets something go until it is beyond the most perfect it could possibly be?
Maybe start by looking at the person’s job/role/responsibility. Does it require perfection? Is the person a world specialist on spleens? (I’m pretty sure spleens require perfection.) Are they negotiating an international arms agreement? In a rare dialect?
Then perhaps we can consider the definition of perfection. Strangely enough, we don’t all define “perfect” the same way. My idea of a perfect Sunday morning and your idea of a perfect Sunday morning are likely to be very different. My idea of a perfectly cooked egg and your idea of a perfectly cooked egg are also likely to only have certain points in common. Similarly, my standard of “good enough” might be someone else standard of “perfection.” And my idea of “perfection” might be miles from someone else’s idea of good enough.
The problem (imo) is when perfection leads to paralysis and/or when perfection is impossible. “I can’t launch my business until everything is perfect.” For some people, that means the business will never launch because they will never have everything at their standard of perfect.
Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward. Victor Kiam
The trick in so many endeavors is to get moving. Get started. You’ll make mistakes and that’s ok. Fail forward. Figure out better ways as you go. But don’t wait until you have all the details figured out and all the contingencies planned for.
Unless you’re removing an appendix. Then I’d say let’s go for perfection.