The lie that perfectionists tell themselves

The lie that perfectionists tell themselves

More time doesn't always equal higher quality work. In fact, it can do more harm than good

3 readers like this


October 11, 2018

Perfectionists typically believe the more time they spend on tasks, the better the quality of their work. They tell themselves if they could spend just one more hour on a deliverable, or even better, have another week, they could guarantee a flawless outcome. But more often than not, the extra time doesn’t significantly change the impact of the work – and in some cases, it can actually decrease work quality. Perhaps worse, the extra effort generally goes unnoticed by managers. 

In this Harvard Business Review article, authors Matt Plummer And Jo Wilson recount numerous research studies that back this up. Perfectionists aren’t the only ones who fall into this trap, they warn. In the quality-first culture of many organizations, “people spend a lot of time perfecting work that would have had the same impact without the extra hours of tweaking.”

Individuals and organizations should instead switch their mindset to focus on productivity as the ultimate goal of work – increased quality will follow naturally, the authors say. Download this article to learn more. 

The lie that perfectionists tell themselves
By Matt Plummer and Jo Wilson

Comment Now

Carla Rudder is a writer and content manager on The Enterprisers Project.

7 New CIO Rules of Road

Harvard Business Review: IT Talent Crisis: Proven Advice from CIOs and HR Leaders

CIOs: We welcome you to join the conversation

Related Topics

Submitted By Carla Rudder
October 17, 2018

Having trouble filling open positions in IT? You're certainly not alone - but the culprit may be a flawed or dated approach to interviews.

Submitted By Stephanie Overby
October 17, 2018

No raise. No promotion. Quality problems. All leaders have to deliver tough news sometimes: Use these strategies to deal with difficult discussions.

Submitted By Kevin Casey
October 15, 2018

How many CIOs are actively adopting or experimenting with blockchain? Dig into this telling data from multiple sources.


Email Capture

Keep up with the latest thoughts, strategies, and insights from CIOs & IT leaders.