At the end of each year, I try to reflect on the most important lesson I’ve learned. As someone who truly enjoys learning, I usually have a number of things to choose from. Picking one though forces me to focus on one concept and expand on how I will incorporate that into my business or life in the following year. I thought I’d share my thoughts on my biggest takeaway from 2015, which is: “the importance of progress over perfection.”
Now prior to this year, I had certainly heard the phrase, “Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress,” but it was over the course of 2015 that I truly began to understand the significance. I’ve always had a bit of tendency to hold off starting projects or making decisions for fear of making the wrong choice or not having all the information needed. The truth that I discovered this year though, was that you don’t need all the information and sometimes failure does more to advance you in the direction you want to go than success.
At the beginning of the year we set out to achieve some lofty goals, some of which have been on our radar for a few years but not made it any further than discussions over a few beers. The difference this year was that we took the first small step. We established six task forces that would push our company forward in the directions we wanted to focus on. We didn’t know if it was the right approach, but we agreed that it was better than doing nothing. Taking that first step gave us momentum, excitement, and something to build upon.
The second “aha” moment came midway through the year when we were working on automating our pack-lists for our events. We were stuck and realized that we were trying to come up with the perfect solution. All of us on the task force agreed that if we could just get the pack-list to be 80% automated we would be far better off than the previous manual solution. The project was being held up because we were focusing too much on the 20% that we couldn’t make perfect and not enough on what we needed to simply implement the project. By shifting our focus, we quickly were able to move from manual pack-lists to automated pack-lists that needed a few manual adjustments. Since implementation we’ve continued to refine the process to make it even better.
Some of our task forces thrived and exceeded our expectations and others were not all as successful as we hoped. Despite that fact, we made a ton of progress and vastly improved the six areas of our company that we focused on. I realized that if we commit to constant improvement then we understand that “perfect “ is a direction, not a destination.
As you take some time to review what you accomplished in 2015, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on your big takeaway from the year. Happy New Year and here’s to progress in 2016!