Our Powerquotes Plus subscribers are getting this quotation (and more) in their email this morning.
“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”
– Michael J. Fox
This is an important thought for us as leaders. Most leaders I meet have high expectations -of themselves and others. Many set goals that are very high, and often misunderstood.
We have tools like six sigma, try to do more with fewer resources and want the best for our teams, organizations and Customers.
All of this is very good – expectations (high or low) play an important role in determining the level of achievement in any situation. And yet there is a balance.
When people feel you expect perfection, they can be demotivated. When people are afraid to make a mistake, they won’t reach for their best work. When people see the goal as unreachable, they will stop reaching, or give less than 100%.
Am I arguing for diminished standards, smaller goals and lower expectations?
Not at all.
What I am encouraging you to do as a leader (for your team and yourself) is think about, talk about, and describe the difference between excellence and perfection.
Set goals that are challenging, inspiring and push people towards their potential, but do not unintentionally demotivate them.
I cannot give you a formula for finding this balance, and likely you can’t unilaterally find that balance perfectly either – but when you engage your team in the discussion, you can create goals that will inspire, motivate and move your towards excellence, without becoming something that is a burden or feels unreachable.
Determining what you really want is the first step towards getting it.
Just make sure you set the target in the right place.