My experience has been that a culture of perfectionism in a team is toxic, and ultimately leads to lower outcomes overall, while a culture of excellence leads to both team health and great outcomes.
So how do we distinguish between the two?
Where is the line between excellence and perfectionism?
One of the best comedy ensemble tv shows of the last couple of decades is ‘The Office’, and one of the best characters of the show is the manager of the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch, Michael Scott, played to perfection by Steve Carell. What makes Michael so awkwardly, cringingly hilarious to watch is his complete and total lack of self-awareness.
Stuck is not a fun place to be, is it? Routine is one thing, but a feeling of stagnation, of not being able to break through a plateau, can be demoralising.
We instinctively feel the desire – the need, even – to push through and make start making progress again.
When you find yourself in this situation in one or more areas of life, it’s helpful to keep in mind the difference between Motion, Movement and Momentum.
“Once upon a time a colony of penguins was living in the frozen Antarctic on an iceberg near what we call today Cape Washington…”
So begins John P. Kotter‘s classic organisational-change fable, ‘Our Iceberg is Melting‘, in which the Emperor penguins Fred, Alice, Louis, Buddy, the Professor, and No-No (we all know that guy, right?) must confront the challenge they are facing, and learn to successfully change as a result.
Widely considered to be THE change guru in the world today, Kotter is perhaps most famous for his eight step process for leading change, which he first put forth in his classic book, ‘Leading Change’. In ‘Our Iceberg is Melting’, Kotter took those same eight steps and placed them in the context of a simple story, to great effect – it, too, became an instant classic, selling more than a million copies over the last decade.
Businesses and organisations around the world have utilised the principles modelled by Kotter’s plucky penguins in order to execute change and reach their goals, and so too can we, as we face a New Year and all that we might hope to achieve within it.
What kind of leaders have had the biggest impact on you?
I’ve had the privilege of serving under numerous outstanding leaders, and I’ve noticed that, though they might be very different in personality, background and style, they tend to share some of the same qualities.