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Welcome to PwC / Minter Ellison Women in Transactions forum participants… and tips on overcoming perfectionism at work

This week I had the good fortune to address this Women in Transactions forum and what a dynamic and inspiring group it was: 60 intelligent, ambitious and optimistic women from many different organisations, all in the one room!  Rather than a pity party about all the obstacles women face in advancing to leadership roles, this was a celebration of what has been and can be achieved by the women in the room.  Wonderful!  Of course there was still the chance for me to point out the opportunities that lay ahead if we’re prepared to make just subtle changes to the way we do things.  One point in particular struck a chord with the room – overcoming perfectionism!

So what is perfectionism and why do we need to overcome any perfectionist tendencies we might harbor?  I think of perfectionism as that obsession to go beyond what is a commercial level of effort in order to remove any possible flaws or doutb.  Statisticians would think of this as the effort required to address the audience to the right of the bell curve.  It’s a bad thing if that obsession to keep working on the content of an email, a technical paper, a presentation or an article until it’s 100% perfect works against us – by diverting our attention away from alternative effort that may deliver a greater reward. 

If you need a non-work example to set some context, consider a uni assignment.  I reckon it takes at least 10 hours extra to take a standard essay type assignment from a Distinction level (which is usually around the 80% mark) to a HD… which is fine if you have nothing else to do in those 10 hours.  But put simply: for many of us the return on investment for that extra 10 hours just isn’t there.  We need to approach work responsibilities in the same way – what will level of input will enable me to communicate my message to a normal distribution of my audience – or the 80% of my audience that matter most.  And is it worth investing more time, effort or resources into extending beyond that?  If not, you’ll leave more energy in reserves by focusing on what needs to be done to get a good result without getting caught up in the minutia that won’t be rewarded.

If you would like to book me to deliver a presentation like this to your forum or team, you can do what the Women in Transaction team did and contact Leanne Lamb at Saxton Speakers Bureau on 03 9811 3500 – Leanne is a great supporter of women in business and can take care of all the details for you.
 

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