Attention Managers: Perfection is Unachievable

There’s an old saying. “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Perfectionism is a strong force that accomplishes so little.


In psychology, Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.[1][2]

Time and time again, smart, well-meaning people get caught trying to achieve perfection yet accomplish very little. Why? It’s because the need to achieve perfection requires planning and analysis. All the preparation never allows work to start. Delays pile on delays.

There is a mindset among perfectionists that says “If it cannot be perfect, I shouldn’t do it” or said more positively “I won’t start until I can know it will be perfect.”

Eventually the whole idea gets set aside in favor of something new that must be done. And surprise! A whole new do-loop begins of preparing for perfection. Insanity!

My argument here is biased towards the business setting, but the principles can apply at home too.

In business, things move quickly. Yes, there are those projects that can take years to complete, but the day-to-day actions that add to the project completion can require decisions that often must be made quickly.

Anyone with a tendency toward perfectionist thinking will not only find themselves frustrated, but will often frustrate and confuse the people who work for them.

The Manager Curse

Managers who tend to be perfectionists will stifle the effort of the team. When perfectionism exists at the top, the team quickly becomes discouraged. They feel that nothing is good enough. even their own “best efforts” are taken for granted or even ridiculed.

Soon the motivations die. People just start showing up and doing the bare minimum to get by. The manager senses the lack of quality effort and becomes more frustrated. Then the downward cycle begins.

With all of that negative energy within the team, perfection can NEVER be achieved.

Perfectionism is an extreme. Balance and equilibrium in the work place require moderation to stay in sync. A team that collaborates and pulls together achieve far more than any single effort to hit perfection. That is why synergism (the whole is greater than the sum of the parts) emerged as a business buzz word in the 90’s.

The Feeding Frenzy

I’ve seen situations where a perfectionist boss hires employees with perfectionist traits. It’s a common problem for most new managers. We hire people who seem to act like us. (You learn later this is a horrible reason to hire someone).

When it happens, the perpetual effort to define and achieve perfection becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for failure. Paralysis by analysis takes over. The boss and the worker get embroiled in long winded discussions about how perfect things are going to be. They feed off each other’s bent for perfection. NOTHING gets done.

How to Stop Perfectionism

Without trying to sound insensitive to this bonafide psychological condition, managers who are perfectionists need to get some help. Their ability to rationalize what an acceptable work product looks like may be impaired.

If the perfection mindset goes on for long, whole teams will burn out. Therefore, you might need an intervention.

If you are the perfectionist manager, seek advice from trusted peers or coaches. Get outside of your own box for a bit. Learn what “good” can be. It may not be perfect, but it is good, maybe even great.

Then, as new tasks come up, make a specific effort to put the brakes on the need to seek perfection. Realize it is a false sense of success that hinders actual achievement.

Business problems seldom require perfect solutions. Think about that great scene in Apollo 13 when the technicians were tasked with using a bunch of scrap material to craft a fix for the air handlers that were dying aboard the space capsule. That was far from a perfect scenario, yet a creative solution, all bound with duct tale and wire saved the day.


Your leadership of your team cannot be stifled by perfectionism. There are amazing alternatives. You might make it a habit to include the team in a discussion about what a positive outcome should look like.

Besides, if you step back and let your team have a broader reach for solving the problems of the day, you just might be surprised at how perfect their answer may be.


Here’s a Proven 6 Step Way to Manage a Career Change

Making a successful career change can be as easy as following six critical steps. I call it STRIVE.


Over 4,500 of my professional clients have used this model for their own job search success. It has been presented in numerous workshops and forums. In the next few pages, you will be guided through these steps.

strive-2016Here we go….. Step #1…..


If you find yourself between jobs, the first thing most people do is sit down and bang out a resume. That’s a horrible place to start. (That is of course unless you change jobs every six months or so.)

No, in order to be successful at job search, you need a solid base; a firm footing from which you gather thoughts and ideas about your search. Therefore, STRIVE Step 1 is to SURVEY.

Survey your prior Success, your Passions, and your Talents. Everyone has achieved something noteworthy. Whether you are just starting out trying to build a career or have 30+ years of experience, there are successes along the way that need to be highlighted and amplified.

Build a list of key achievements and successes. Try to identify the “resulting in” effects of those achievements. Tie the final outcome to the task or event. The statement looks something like this:

“I was manager of a sales team that increased national sales 45% resulting in a net $10,000,000 earnings increase for the year”.

Let this list become an inventory of juicy nuggets of key accomplishments that will be the fruit from which you feed to power your search.

Survey also includes locking down on the focus of your attention. What do you really want to do next? You must be firmly rooted with an answer to that essential question. While you look at your accomplishment list, think about which items were exciting and rewarding versus those that got done, but you hope you never do again.

And yes, this is the time to rekindle passions for life accomplishments that may be unfulfilled. I realize financial necessity gets in the way, but if you’re between jobs, why not give yourself the momentary grace to get back in touch with some passion or fire that can fuel your next chapter of work?


Take the survey information and the design you created in Step 1, and then create a TARGET.

Most job search planners tell you that you must focus your search. That is definitely true. Targeting means you are not going to market with a vague and slippery explanation like “I can do that too.” With targeting, you have a specific, identifiable landing zone you want to achieve.

Setting a targeted list gives your job search a framework and a way to be accountable for the effort.

Turn your successes, skills, and passions into a set of functions that you might want to perform on a daily basis. Then formulate a job description that includes all of those functions. Once you have your own job description of your dream job, you can begin to research the companies that need those types of jobs.

Targeting also gives you purpose. Being able to speak in specific targeted terms allows you to talk boldly with family, friends, and colleagues who may be able to help you with new opportunities; those around you can “get it”. They will have a better understanding of what you are trying to do. Empowered with that knowledge, others can do more to help in your job search.


Now and ONLY now can you begin to write the proper resume to tell your story.

Use a resume format that highlights the key accomplishments. Start your resume story with what you can do for the employer. You cannot assume anything in telling your story. YOU need to fill in all the blanks for the reader. List your prior employment history only after you have first gotten the reader’s attention with a “Here’s what I will do for you today” objective statement. Build a personal BRAND.

36762097 - job interview concept with business cv resumeHighlight a select list of 3 to 5 accomplishments right near the top of the resume will grab the reader’s attention. The obituary style (Chronology) of prior employment is super boring, but needed to simply prove you’ve had a run at doing the things you featured in the accomplishments.

Yes, you will need to flex your resume depending on the target company. A one size resume does not fit all. Use different accomplishments depending upon the target you are connecting to.

The resume must pop with your story, explaining what you can do for them. Remember, the target company has a need you can fill, but you have to lead the reader of the resume through the story. You can never assume any conclusion about what may come from your resume. Get others to read it before you submit it ‘Live’. Adjust the story based on how well it seems to be received by others.


To maximize your job search success, you need to think “INTERACTION”. This is where networking comes in.

Networking by itself is not the answer. Networking alone, just for the sake of going out and meeting people can become a big waste of time. You have to think Interaction. Begin building high trust relationships that last.

Ask yourself “am I really suited to be a long term part of this networking group?” Can I find value here and can I give value too? Get involved in industry groups and professional gatherings that are fits for your targets and your passions. Pay it forward!

When you attend an event, have some goals set to do things like “meet 5 CFOs” or “meet 3 new recruiters”.

As you talk with people, ask engaging questions that allow them to talk. Studies show you become more memorable based on what people felt about the way you made them feel. Having them talk about themselves helps to build that bridge. It seems counter-intuitive; I mean you are there to get a job right? Rather than dominating the discussion talking about yourself, get to know others first.


Build value in the story you are telling. Companies today need people who can contribute a positive outcome to their performance.

In this step we begin to prepare for the job interview. The sooner you can explain and present a solid value statement to a potential employer, the faster you will be considered for hire.

Help the hiring manager understand the value you can bring to the table. Include this in all aspects of your job search. Focus your personal story on the specialized and incredibly valuable contribution you believe you can make.

Landing your next job does require some sales skills. If selling something has never been a talent for you, learn how to tell your story with a brand value in mind. Shift your thinking to look at yourself as a brand rather than a job candidate. Your experience and job history should give you the right ammunition to use for building a strong brand.


This last step is perhaps the toughest. Here we assume you have landed the new job.

The question now becomes “how are you going to go about keeping the new job?” You must create a plan to carry through all of the great and wonderful things you have sold the employer. Build a specific plan of action to engage and embrace the new company, your co-workers, and managers with positive outcome.

Set your standard of performance early and stick to it. Prove to the new team that you are the best hiring decision they have made.

In the HR world, there is a saying:

“We hire on skills and fire on behavior.”

Your behavior at the new job is a big part of success in the job. Get engaged with the team around you and the environment within the company. Learn things, understand things, and then do the things that fit.


STRIVE is a clear and concise way to plan for your job search. It provides constant reminders for every aspect of the search. Use the handy checklist in the Appendix of the eBook I am offering here to grade yourself on the search.

And remember, with STRIVE you can Thrive!


Finding Purpose in this Life

It all started with “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Then dreams and hopes morph into some kind of reality.


Days, weeks, and years go by and the original excitement gives way to routine living. Then it happens. There is a realization that you are missing something. You ask the question, what is the purpose for my life?

Adolphus Coors IV once described the yearning in there questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • Where am I going?

For all of my trips around the sun, I have watched countless friends and colleagues struggle with the definition of purpose in life. For some it’s not really a big deal, they just accept what there is and keep going. Others get paralyzed by the feeling of not knowing and somehow missing out.

Despite all of the gurus with self-help programs to lead you to some big revelation for finding life’s purpose, as for me, I’ve decided it all boils down to one simple truth.

I admit, my faith enters this discussion in a big way. It is the underlying foundation of my view on this topic.

You see, I believe God doesn’t make any mistakes. No, that’s all on me. While I make choices that interrupt what might otherwise be His perfect plan, He still knows why He put me here.

I have one physical body and cannot be two places at once. If I stay focused on being somewhere else, I cannot be effective right where I am now.

I have, as do you, a unique set of life experiences, that, if properly assessed and understood, give way to wisdom and experience that can benefit others. Others, who have not yet had experience, but need to know so that their way can be a brighter path.

Lastly, in God’s economy, He moves the deck chairs to be right where they should be. While you are going about living your life, handling your responsibilities, and working through your daily commitments, you are where you need to be. Every day you wake up in a particular situation, you are right where God needs you to be. Don’t waste the moment. Be alert for ways to contribute; right now, right where you are.

When I say contribute, I mean mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Be the source of energy and light right where you are.

Stop worrying about some bigger meaning or purpose. Seize the day –  Carpe Diem!

You want to find purpose? Make a difference right where you are!


For more ideas on better management and leadership, try ‘The Uncommon Commodity‘,
my new book available on Amazon, Kindle and Nook.

How To Increase Your Work Focus

Guest Post Tuesday 8/23/16

Today is Tuesday 8/23. This article has been submitted by one of the followers of this blog.

Goals need to be clear and solid. Rather than setting the aim of putting in a certain amount of hours work a day, make yourself a priority list for the whole week. Such a goal cuts down on getting distracted by anything and everything. At the start of each day set aside time to review your priority list, then decide what you can reasonably accomplish within the next 24 hours. Don’t be vague. Remember goals should be clear and solid, so aim for something like, ‘Today I’ll get the first two points struck-off the list’.

Set work sessions to 60-90 minute periods:

When we start to work we tend to be bright and alert, but as the time goes by this starts to fade, meaning we are prime targets to any passing distraction. Don’t leave it to chance, instead set your timer to buzz at the end of each work session. Once you hear the buzz, it’s time to take a break, before starting the next work session. Use your short break to take a walk, get a bite of lunch, or listen to some music.


Better food:

Eating better and knowing what you’re eating can make all the difference to how you feel and your level of concentration in the work place. Taking supplements with B vitamins and oils such as fish can really help entrepreneurs to stay focused.

Take a break from the world:

The world is a minefield of distractions. If you really want to avoid distractions, then you need to avoid the world! Co-workers, emails, phone calls; they are all included. Whether you need to have lock-down in your office, book a meeting room, or find another hideout, getting a quiet place to work is vital. If there are a few urgent messages that you need to care for immediately, then set something up to receive only these messages. By the way, when we say, ‘urgent messages’, we’re not talking about what time your co-workers are heading out for drinks!

41097334 - man with arms raised on a green field under beautiful sky

Set Aside Time For Distractions:

Not all distractions are enemies to work performance. It’s just that you need to know how to work them to your advantage. Firstly, think about distractions that bring you benefit, things like getting in a work-out or catching up with friends. If you are a social media fan, then schedule a set time to spend time online, but make sure you are strict about sticking to the time frame. The key is always saying to yourself, ‘I am the boss, not my distractions’.

Avoiding Distraction Is An Art That Needs Practice: If you really want to master the art, meditation could be the key; just you and your mind to avoid distraction. If meditation doesn’t tickle your fancy, then consider committing to a single-task day. At lunchtime, you have one task; eat! Don’t surf the net, reply to emails or post on your social media page. During meetings don’t mess with your phone or create modern art on your meeting notebook.

Tune In To Yourself:

Pay attention to what distracts you, and how it does so. What led up to your moment of distraction? Were you getting tired, feeling hungry or not engaging with your work? Once you have tuned into what triggers your distraction, you’ll be able to act quickly and avoid allowing the distraction to control you.


These are great, easy to remember tips for keeping focus at work and in life. If you have other ideas that work well for you, please share by commenting below. Also, you may enjoy this post from a previous date; “Are You Managing Your World?“.


New Book from Doug Thorpe


Holding Someone’s Interest Versus Getting Their Attention

What's the difference?

Leading a team requires the ability to guide and inspire interest from your people.

Interest is significantly different from attention. Loud noises get our attention, but they may not hold our interest. Here’s an example. You are sitting having a nice cup of coffee at your local green branded coffee stop. You hear a loud bang right outside. You jump to go see what just happened. That noise has grabbed your attention.

7903217 - Courtesy


You realize the barista has dropped a metal trashcan outside, right by the curb. That’s not very interesting, so you go back to your coffee. Your interest returns to the article, book or screen you were browsing when the bang happened. Now, both your attention AND your interest are focused on the prior content you were viewing.

Only Two Things

Lots of things get our attention daily. However, it has been said there are really only two things that hold our interest.

  1. A Problem we have and don’t want
  2. A Result we want but don’t have

Continue Reading »

Internal Transparency – Five Tips You Can Use Today

Guest Post Thursday 8/18/2016

Here’s another in my continuing series of guest post articles, for your enjoyment.

In the workplace, internal transparency can help employees feel empowered and engaged. Unfortunately, employers (and managers) often find it difficult to know what information to share with their employees and what information to withhold. Internal transparency will depend on the size, complexity and culture of the organization. The following five tips will help you determine and adopt a healthy internal transparency.


Communication - Courtesy

Communication – Courtesy

Communication of Company Goals, Values and Mission Statement.

Each employee should understand the mission statement, the values and the goals of a company. Employees cannot work effectively without understanding the purpose, mission, values and goals of the organization. Should any of these change, management should ensure each staff member knows and understands these changes.

Continue Reading »

5 Ways to Avoid Convenient Excuses

As we go through this life, things happen to us and around us. Often there is a call to accountability. Sometimes that call is obvious and loud, for example when the boss is really mad. Other times the call is quiet.

Those of us with any moral conviction at all tend to offer an answer when one of those calls for accountability arises. However, if you are like me, you can be guilty of occasionally offering excuses rather than true, accountable explanations. To be an effective and respected leader, you must fight the temptation to give excuses.


Continue Reading »

Don’t Sabatoge Your First 100 Days

For anyone who is now working in their first-ever management role, you know things can be tough. No doubt you have already made a few mistakes (at least YOU think they are). The first 100 days can be a critical phase as well as a measure of whether or not you are going to make it in the long run.

If you haven’t done these 5 things in your first 100 days, your management career is well on its way to a successful run.

New Managers

Courtesy Andres Rodriguez

Continue Reading »

Creating a Relaxing Office Environment

Guest Post 8/11/16

Today’s guest post explores the significance of creating the right work space.

A relaxing office environment allows you to think clearer, be more productive and get more done and here are some tips on how to create one.

Open working environment

Open working environment

Allow Employees to Personalize Their Space

Offices are often boring and bland. This can hinder creativity. One way a company can remedy this situation is to allow employees to personalize and customize their work spaces. Personalization can include things such as family photos and artwork. Customization includes allowing different workstations and chairs to be used in the work area. By allowing your employees to create a personalized space, you are fostering the idea of community rather than just a job.

Creating Common Areas in the Workplace

Oftentimes, offices do not have common areas where employees can mingle with other employees. This can cause employees to stay in their office most of the day, which can hinder creativity and job satisfaction. By creating a number of common areas, you can combat this and foster a sense of community and interaction among employees.

Motivational Imagery in the Office Place

You can enhance the vibe of your company by using images that align with your company ethics throughout your office. Using these items will help create a sense of purpose among your employees. You may want o use artwork that reflects the goals and values of your company. Additionally, hanging beautiful artwork makes the office space feel more homey and enjoyable.

Add Fountains

The sound of water is one that can really make such a difference to a space and adding one to your office can be a fantastic addition. These beautiful water features and fountains from Soothing Walls provide this and are also a beautiful showpiece.

Creating Multiple Work Environments

Employees report that it can be very stressful to feel like they are chained to their desk. By giving your employees the freedom to move around you can help improve the morale of your employees. You can include a variety of work surfaces, such as standing desks and couches. Another way is to create different rooms with different lighting to create ambiance and improve worker productivity. Oftentimes, a simple change of location can inspire fresh ideas to help solve a problem.

36672925 - spacious work environment in a modern office with work stations at a long table overlooked by a large glass window with views of the sky


Provide Locations to Recharge

You can improve worker productivity by offering them a place to get away and recharge. This area can be filled with bean bags where no electronics are allowed. Include relaxing features, such as soft lighting, plants and a small, trickling water fountain to create a stress-free location.

Quiet Spaces within the Office

Some employees may not be able to cope with an open office setting. Those that need to focus on their work may need a quiet space to complete their work. Create quiet work spaces that are marked as do not disturb areas. This will allow your employees to focus on their work without being bothered with phone calls, emails, and employee interaction.

Use Aesthetics to Cultivate a Sense of Relaxation in the Office

Did you know that natural light can keep employees happy and more productive? Incorporate as much natural light into the office as you can. Additionally, the colors in the office can affect employee morale and productivity. In relaxation zones, use muted colors. Save bright colors for creativity zones in the office.

Question: What has your company done to provide the best work environment? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Notice to Consumers: Products, goods, and services referenced herein have no relationship with Doug Thorpe or his companies. There are neither implied nor explicit trade benefits earned or shared by posting the mentions herein.