Since we aim to spend most of our time on our products and services, automation is key. For some of our suppliers, automation feels like dancing with some very weird robots. As a result, a couple of them are still sending us batches of hardcopy invoices. On a freakin' weekly basis.
Great. Especially for our financial department. Instead of a big sigh on repeat, we've send a supplier an email last week (yes, they do use email!):
"Hello there, any chance you can scan these invoices and send them to us by email? Would save you a lot of postage paid, and would save us a great amount of time. Let us know if we can help you out over there!"
The response made us smile big time. It was out of their regular process, but they were willing to take the leap, starting this week. As soon as the first scans came in, our hearts took an even bigger jump. The comment accompanying the first scans was:
"Well, first step conquered. We're sorry that the quality is not great. But we're very glad we've started this journey and we're focusing on improvements now. We'll keep you posted!"
Instead of not sending us the email because of a low quality, they made the step on short term. And as a customer, we don't mind. It helps us immediately and it keeps getting better from now on.
Perfectionism can be slowing you down right now. While striving for that Ultimate Result, I've hit rock bottom in 2015. The question that opened my eyes?
Are your customers really expecting that 120%?
In hindsight, I think they didn't even notice the difference between the 120 and 100 percent these days. My customers, nor my team did.
Having a perfectionist in your team can be an efficiency drain. Especially when there are some 'chaotic' team members too. Prepare for long lead times and frustration.
But, it can be handled differently..
To work with perfectionists, there are two very important factors in everyone's daily happiness: the project needs to be clear and needs resonate with all members.
Define thorougly what the customer wants, needs, feels like
Get this clear within the team
Make sure the end-game resonate with your company and the team
If not, the offering or the team composition should change
When everyone's aboard, work in short stints (max. 1 week)
Adjust goals only in response to the customers' appreciation
Limit extra side-steps. Only add when the whole team is convinced the customer will appreciate this big time.
Well this feels like a strict plan. It is. Perfectionists need this, since they are control freaks. If you are in a creative phase, it is up to you as vivacious leader to keep the end-game in sight and both the creative minds as well as the perfectionists happy. Everyone should spread their talents, but not get smacked in the face 24/7 by it.
Make sure you figure out where this perfectionism comes from
What's their fear? What's the unstoppable drive? Why do they want to prove themselves over and over again? Confess them you notice their efforts and you appreciate it, and that you are very interested where this all comes from. Because you are very glad to experience the efforts, but you know it is not sustainable for any human on this planet.
And yes, they will tell you they now feel challenged to do so. But as a vivacious teamleader, you have the honor to tell them 100% is already extremely appreciated.