Monday, August 16, 2010

Are You Doing A Woody?

I’ll admit it without shame, I love the classic 80’s television show “Cheers”.

One of my favourite characters is Woody, the lovable, if a bit dopey bar tender.

In a recently watched episode Woody was asked how an acting audition of his had gone. “Excellent” he remarked, he’d said his lines faster than anybody else auditioning!

This made me laugh but also made me think back to some of my early mistakes in the workplace and to some that I’ve seen others make – with the best intentions of course.

So clearly, we can learn from Woody that faster isn’t always better. But then, in my opinion, slow perfectionism doesn’t overly benefit a workplace either. The real challenge is to find that happy medium between perfection and speed. Everyone finds it at different levels. For me – I work on about an 80 / 20 rule – get it 80% right and get it working and adjust, perfect and tweak as you go. That level works for me because I know it’ll take me at least twice as long to get something from 80% to 90% perfect without working on / in it as it will do if I get in there and adjust as I go.

For example, at Elephant Property, when a new tenant moves into a property there’s a very detailed 2 page checklist that we fill out in office which shows everything that we need to do prior to the tenant being given keys (and after!) This checklist started out as a single A4 page 18 months ago and has morphed and been added to and improved incrementally over time. Had I tried to get it to it’s current stage 18 months ago it would been impossible because I wouldn’t have learnt the lessons I know now. Could I have gotten it better before we’d started using it? Absolutely. But at what time cost?

Sure perfectionism has a place – but before you waste hours of productive time striving for perfection in everything, ask yourself if in this instance you’ll get closer to perfect by getting in and working with and on the project rather than just designing or conceptualizing.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments


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