Teams: Perfectionism vs. pragmatism

Perfectionism vs. pragmatism

Sometimes a working styles problem is caused not by too much conflicts but by too much similarity. For example, there’s the kind of team that’s so determined to do amazingly perfect, outstanding work that the finessing never stops. We call this the shadow side of inspired teams with high standards and big ambitions: you keep thinking and rethinking decisions in pursuit of making the work better. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Designate a point person to get the team to commit. The truth is that any number of the ideas you’ve developed then rejected in the brainstorming phase is probably great — but the proof can only be seen in the pudding. A team-appointed pragmatist can help lock the team into action so you can move toward the next phase.
  • Switch up your rhythms: After the first refining stage, release the work — whether you feel ready or not. Before refining again, gather feedback from clients/users/stakeholders. You’ll have greater momentum, and avoid falling into a trap of refining and refining until you’re forced to release.
Meiko SeymourComment