Managing people

Tackle a perfectionist

By James Thomson
Friday, 29 June 2012

taskmasterWe’ve been working on a research project in our business that has been dragging on for the best part of six months.


Actually, when I say “we” what I really mean is this one guy has been given the project and simply can’t seem to get it finished.


“Is it ready?” I ask him every second week.


“Ah, not yet, I just need to get a more complete set of data,” he’d almost always answer me.


When I asked his manager what was the hold up, she told me he was a perfectionist. If it wasn’t spot on, he wouldn’t move on.


Well, stuff that. Yesterday morning I went over to his desk and gave him a simple ultimatum: It must be ready to present by 9am tomorrow morning. End of story.


He made the deadline and gave his presentation, which was great, despite him saying several times that he was concerned that some data was incomplete.


Afterwards I cornered him and congratulated him on his presentation. I told him that perfection can be dangerous – in the real world you never have every single fact you need, so the key is to make assumptions based on the best work you can manage as quickly as possible.



Get it done – today!

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