4 Common Pitfalls of Perfectionism

Culture is something that has always interested me. I am particularly intrigued by various cultures and tendencies inside Interstates. Perfectionism is one I have been delving into recently. Perfectionists are people who want things to be flawless or ideal. Great news, right? Wouldn’t we want to have people focused on perfection and making things flawless? Maybe not. Below I have outlined four common pitfalls of perfectionism.

1. Perfectionism slows us down.

If we spend time on details that aren’t necessary, we are putting time and effort into things that don’t add value. These are a waste of time and don’t allow us to move on to our next project or task.

2. Perfectionism paralyzes us.

If we continue to search for the BEST answer after we’ve found many good options, we are paralyzed by perfection.  We shouldn’t let “perfect” get in the way of “better”. Choose a good option and move on.

3. Perfectionism reduces our willingness to be creative and take risks.

When something isn’t our specialty or comfort zone, we shy away from doing something new and different. The fear of not excelling or being the best at it limits us.

4. Perfectionism causes us to miss out on new challenges or opportunities.

If we are focused on perfecting less important work, we won’t have time for new, challenging work.  We miss the opportunity for growth, to bring value in a new way,  or uncover an unknown skill that is personally rewarding.

Is perfectionism something you struggle with? If so, my advice would be to consider the pursuit of broad excellence rather than narrow perfection. For example, build an excellent project team or collaborative design approach rather than a perfect drawing, prefab assembly, or conduit rack.

Keep leading the Interstates way!


Doug Post, Interstates Engineering President