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Friday, April 9, 2021

Lean Quote: Excellence Over Perfection

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.  —  Jerry Moran

We must recognize that perfection and excellence is not the same thing. Perfectionism is about the fear of failure, while striving for excellence is the urge for success. Excellence is superior performance, persistence, and the commitment to do something exceptionally well. Excellence requires risk, effort, spontaneity, hard work, and extending yourself to reach your full potential. Perfectionism interrupts a natural curiosity to learn, inquire, and invent. It causes frustration, pressure, doubt, and constant self criticism.

When we strive for excellence, we have high standards. And in general, there’s nothing wrong with having high standards. In fact, it can be a good thing. High standards can encourage us to make improvements, solve problems and do quality work.

Perfectionism, however, is an impossibly high standard — with no room for imperfections and no compassion for mistakes.

People who strive for excellence can accept that mistakes are inevitable and value what they learn from them. They don’t let mistakes define them.

When we pursue excellence or high standards, we value the process, not just the outcome. We know that the learning that we build along the way, is often as important as the outcome. When we value the process, we are better equipped to weather life’s ups and downs because we know that the outcome isn’t always a reflection of our effort, skills, or intelligence.

Excellence is about focusing and improving the process – whatever it is to achieve the desired result or goal. The paradigm shift is about believing that once we continue excelling and improving at what we do well, the results would get better and better.

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