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DT’s Tower: Steel Margins

“Uh oh!  A Lord is going to be talking about profit margins” *run away*

Those aren’t the kinds of margins that I’ve been thinking about this month (honestly!). What I’ve been thinking about mostly are ‘margins of error’.

Nobody’s Perfect

It is a fact that none of us are perfect (sorry to break that to you).  I have yet to find anyone who has not confessed at some point in their life that they have made a mistake or things haven’t gone as planned.  In fact most of the interesting stories and the biggest learning come from when things don’t go right. 🙂

I’d also argue that the majority of us, regardless of profile, have a degree of perfectionism about us.

Perfectionism… A Friend of Procrastination

From what I’ve been thinking there are two reasons for perfectionism.

The first is about the desire to get things right.  This is most clearly evident in the Dynamo profiles of Mechanic, Creator and Star.  Intuitively they know that something isn’t quite right and like having an itch they can’t scratch they can delay doing anything until they get it right.

From the Mechanic wanting to ensure every little detail is perfect to the Star who insists that something doesn’t look right.  The problem they often encounter is because the source of their perfectionism is intuition they can’t easily explain or identify what is wrong.  They just ‘know’.

The second reason for perfectionism is insecurity.  This is the area of the Tempos, the Deal Makers, Traders and Accumulators.  Likely they will have a (full) list of points drawn that they will work through.  Unless a time limit is imposed it is likely that they will keep finding fault and making small ‘tweaks’.

Obviously both types of perfectionism isn’t good in order to get things done.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a Lord so I can appreciate the drive for perfectionism.

The devil is in the detail after all!

Delegation and Margins of Error

So are Blaze profiles guilty of perfectionism?  Well, they can be but as their talent is people they generally know the right people to get things done (and they are the ones who are usually perfectionists).  When they give feedback they can oscillate between Dynamo ‘doesn’t look right but I can’t put my finger on it’ or Tempo ‘here is a list’.

Now we come to the Steel profiles.  And an interesting thing happens, I think.  I have been accused of perfectionism.  I have also been accused of pragmatism.  Now both can’t be right can they?  What I have realised in terms of thinking about the way I look at it is that I never expect 100% (I might desire it but I know reality gets in the way most of the time).  I do sometimes oscillate between ‘something not right’ and ‘the list’.  Yet, in order to resolve either of these quandaries there is the margin of error.

So, for me, there is an acceptable margin of error.  That can shift depending on what is being worked on but I’d give it a range between 80% – 99%.

I don’t stick my finger in the air and go I’m in a 99% mood today but rather it is based on several variables:

1. How much time is left before planned completion?

2. Is there flexibility in terms of time after completion to improve?

3. How serious is the margin of error?  A seatbelt with a 20% margin of error is a bit different from a business card with a 20% margin of error 😀

It annoys the HELL out of the Dynamos I work with and confuses the Tempos no end.

Yet ultimately, this margin of error allows for decisive decisions and getting things done.

Do you have margins of error?  Or are you a perfectionist?

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