How To Use Imperfection to Get Your Ideas Adopted



“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” — Salvador Dali

Forget lengthy presentations and long-meetings.  Get things half done, in half the time, and involve people in your solution to get better results.

If you’re a perpetual perfectionist, this might just be your cure.

By getting things half right, you can get better results.

This is especially true when it comes to getting others to adopt your ideas.  Instead of perfecting your solution, let others help you make it their version of perfect.  If they’re part of the solution, they’ll not only be happier with the solution, they’ll be your raving fans, because their fingerprints are on it.

In the book, 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, Peter Bregman shows you how to shoot for imperfection to get your ideas and solutions adopted.

Shoot for Imperfect

Bregman says don’t just settle for imperfection — shoot for it.

Via 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done:

“There are times when I expect something to be just right.  Perfect. Like when I open the box of my new MacBook Air, for example.  Or when I take money out of the ATM.

In most cases though, I expect imperfect.  And when working with others, I think that’s a good thing — but not the if-I-expect-imperfect-I-won’t-be-disappointed sense.

I’m not suggesting you settle for imperfect.  I’m advising you shoot for it.”

Lessons from “Imperfection”

Bregman’s learned that a little imperfection can go a long way toward getting buy-in, getting ideas adopted, and improving things using the collective experience of the people involved.

Via 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done:

  1. My perfect is not their perfect.
  2. They don’t have a perfect.  In fact, there is no “they.”  There are two thousand individuals, each of whom wants something a little different.
  3. The more perfect I think it is, the less willing I’ll be to let anyone change it.
  4. The only way to make it useful to everyone is to allow each person to change it to suit him- or herself.
  5. The only way people will use it is if they do change it in some way.
  6. The only way I will encourage them to change it and make it their own is if I make it imperfect.

Why Won’t This Work for You?

Shooting for imperfection make space for other people to contribute.  It gives them a chance to add value and make something their own.  When Bregman shares an idea, he opens it up for actionable feedback by asking, “Why won’t this work for you?”

Let’s take a look at a sample dialogue.

Via 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done:

Bregman: “Why won’t this work for you?”
Client: “There’s no standard here that relates directly to the issue my employee is having.”
Bregman: “That’s a good point.  So how can you make it work?”
Client: “I’ll just write in the standard I think is appropriate.”
Bregman: “Great.”

How can you stop chasing perfection, and start embracing imperfection?

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Image by Vancouver Film School.

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