Strive for excellence, not perfection

We have this obsession with perfection that actually may be a detriment to our success. When you strive for perfection, you make everything black and white. You either achieve perfection or you fail. It’s as simple as that.

But when you strive for excellence, there is no finish line because excellence is in the eye of the beholder. Each organization and each individual has their own definition of what excellence would mean for them so you never actually “achieve” it. The success is in the journey.

Striving for excellence and pursuing it allows for incremental improvements. This ability does not exist when you focus on perfection. Even though when you try to achieve perfection you will inevitably make incremental improvements, you will never take advantage of them because of your pursuit of the perfect solution. Until you find that solution, you will consider the endeavour a failure.

When you strive for excellence, however you define it, you remove the pressure to be perfect. You don’t have to find the ultimate solution, only one that improves the current situation. Those constant incremental improvements are what separates the great companies and the great people from everyone else.

They are satisfied with incremental improvement because they are not chasing the abstract concept of perfection, they are chasing their own definition of excellence.

What’s your definition of excellence for you and your organization? I think once you answer that question you will have a clearer vision of where you want to be.