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The lie that perfectionists tell themselves
More time doesn't always equal higher quality work. In fact, it can do more harm than good
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.