Len wants to leave his job to start his own design studio. As Len smartly assesses his entrepreneurial readiness, he wants to rid himself of one habit that could doom his startup — perfectionism.

Mark Cuban of the TV series Shark Tank said, “Perfectionism is the enemy of an entrepreneur.” It cannot be cured over night, but can be broken down gradually through coaching.

Frustrated with the indecisiveness and stress that come with perfectionism, Len agreed to apply a strategy to a current problem: Len owes HR five staff performance reviews (perfs) by the end of the week. They are six months overdue.

In light of other tasks that beg for Len’s attention, I asked him to describe what an “adequate” perf would look like. Would it sufficiently meet the expectations of the employee and HR? How much time would it take to do each one? Len could not identify any downsides to an adequate perf.

A “perfect” perf would include more flowery language and several links to training videos that would likely be ignored. Compared to an adequate perf, Len admitted that a perfect perf was excessive and a poor use of time with no upsides.

Contrasting the two versions in terms of time and benefit was a practical step towards tempering Len’s perfectionism. It eased the ability to get started and complete the task in time.

Perfectionism may require more than coaching, however. It is essential to manage this behavior efficiently before starting your own business. Contact me at [email protected]  

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