A great business is simply a collection of great people running a great process. But what makes people great, and thus collectible, is certainly a topic of debate. I am sure you have your own trait that you think makes you a valuable addition to a team. You advertise this special trait in job interviews. You are organized. Or ENERGETIC! Or cReAtIve. Or not easily bored…
Throughout my career, I have spent a lot of time interviewing job candidates. And there’s one trait I have heard people brag about more than all others. I couldn’t possibly count how many times I’ve heard people proudly state, ‘I am a perfectionist.’ This proclamation makes me want to throw up. Because if you are looking for creative thinkers and problem solvers, perfection works against you.
That’s why I proudly consider myself an Imperfectionist. So what does that mean? It means I value progress in any form. I am quite comfortable dreaming up and then sharing half-baked ideas. Or writing a first draft and passing it around for a reaction. Why? Because unbaked and half-baked ideas are available faster than fully-baked ideas. And typically, a team simply needs a ‘for-instance’ to get moving in the right direction.
I enjoy sharing ideas that are still in a moldable state. (But not a moldy state.) Sharing wet-clay ideas enables others to help form, modify and improve them before they’re finished. As an Imperfectionist, I embrace the process of creating, testing, learning and improving.
Today, speed is king. In the advertising agency business, we need to act quickly to help our clients take advantage of short-lived opportunities and thwart threats. This puts a premium on quick thinking. It’s why I like swift action as much as Travis Kelce does.
We no longer live in an era that rewards you for sitting alone in your office, with your Swingline, making sure your ideas are bulletproof before you share them.
Now don’t get me wrong. Once our team has determined a direction and we move into the execution phase, every detail matters. (Because you hate to get an execution wrong…) I will question the kerning, analyze the delivery of a line, and poke at a transition in an edit until I’m convinced we have it right. There is a time and place for this type of scrutiny. And it’s at the end of the process.
Being an Imperfectionist is what enabled me to launch The Weaponry. It is what allowed me to start this blog. It was the key to writing my first book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? And it is the great enabler behind all of my creative and business projects yet to come.
Be an Imperfectionist. Explore more. Fail fast. And improve faster. Share what you think are good ideas earlier in the process so that others can contribute their good ideas too. Imperfectionism is the difference between doing and dreaming. Action and inaction. It is the key to entrepreneurial thinking. And it has the power to change the world.
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