Perfection is Not the Goal
Updated: Sep 6
Okay, baseball is not one of our favorite pastimes. In fact, one of us thinks baseball is an incredibly tedious sport and was very happy when her sports-oriented kid chose lacrosse. (In all fairness, she has enjoyed the ambience of Dodger Stadium. Her opinion on the boringness of baseball came from watching an abundance of 6-year-old Little League games.)
Recently, baseball fans reflected on the 10th anniversary of a significant event. The anniversary of the last perfect game.
The holy grail of baseball is the perfect game. A game where a team does not allow any opposing player to reach base by any means. The last perfect game was pulled off August 15, 2012 by Félix Hernández of the Seattle Mariners.
This celebration of perfection got us thinking: How does perfection figure into business leadership?
Now, no one likes to make mistakes. It creates a crummy, let down feeling at best. In business, mistakes can have real financial impact.
But as a leader, is it even reasonable to set perfection as the goal? We don’t think so. As humans, we are going to make mistakes. In business, which is made up of a bunch of humans, there are definitely going to be mistakes.
Perfection can be an aspiration. An aspiration is the hope or ambition to achieve something. An aspiration is designed to be a source of continual inspiration.
For example, striving toward 100% customer satisfaction can be an impetus for creating a robust customer experience. Trying to achieve 100% accuracy on a production line can lead to streamlined processes.
It is tricky to strive toward perfection without people becoming demoralized when it isn’t achieved. What type of leader can use perfection as a tool to motivate and inspire?
An Aware Leader.
An Aware Leader balances the desire for perfection with the tools to process imperfection.
When things don’t go well, rather than focusing on the mistake and devolving into finger pointing, Aware Leaders see it as an opportunity to grow. They are aware that their job is to support and guide their staff to move forward. They are aware of the strengths of their teams and how these strengths can be used to build better systems. They are aware of their own leadership challenges and access resources to shore up those weaknesses.
They are also aware that when they set high expectations, they need to provide high levels of support to meet those expectations. Employees can be motivated by lofty goals when they are provided the leadership that creates a dynamic and supportive culture.
Aware Leaders ask themselves the following questions:
What resources do I provide my employees to motivate them to reach our goals?
These are not just physical resources, but also cultural resources. Physical resources are required to produce your product or service. Equally important are the emotional resources that are necessary for employees to be energized to reach for the stars and to recoup after a set back. Making your employees feel continually valued is key to Aware Leadership.
When a mistake occurs, what is my first response?
This may be the hardest aspect of being an Aware Leader. It is natural to respond with frustration and focus all efforts on determining the cause of the problem. It takes some fortitude to respond from a place of understanding. Working to operate from the following mindset is essential: Mistakes are a learning tool. My employees are striving to do their best. My primary task is to propel my employees to get back on track.
How often do I assess my effectiveness and training needs?
Leaders can be very adept at evaluating the needs of their teams. An Aware Leader will shine that same light on themselves to see where they need additional support.
Being an Aware Leader can be summed up by a quote from one of the greatest sports leaders of all time, the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden:
“The best leaders are lifelong learners; they take measures to create organizations that foster and inspire learning throughout. The most effective leaders are those who realize it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts most.”
G2 Solutions can help make you an Aware Leader. Check us out at www.g2solve.com