Being Effective Beats Being Perfect

Effective is a word that I use a lot when thinking about courses, webinars or workshops.

To some it might seem like quite a passive word.

For me it fits well with the accountants ad professionals that I work with, particularly in the non technical skills areas or job search.

Being an effective from my perspective is about achieving the outcome that you want.

By definition that means you avoid falling into the perfection trap.

You do everything that you can to try and do the very best on the day. 

However, it does mean it has to be perfect.

Let’s take a few examples to illustrate this.

Being an effective presenter

If you were thinking about giving a presentation at work you might obsess about it, worry about it and tell yourself all sorts of stories about what might go wrong.

If you just think in terms of being effective, you might write down:

  • Delivering with confidence
  • Getting your pace right
  • Engaging your audience
  • Getting the action you proposed agreed

Once you have done this think about all the things that might help you to do that, such as:

  • Doing a practice run several times
  • Audio recording yourself delivering your presentation and checking your pace
  • Creating opportunities for your audience to get involved
  • Being clear about the outcome you want

Being an effective leader

Leading for me is one of those areas where we are all always work in progress.

Aiming for perfection in leading is setting the bar too high.

By contrast being effective is achievable. If you think being effective as leader you might write down things like:

  • Knowing what you do best
  • Focusing on what you do best
  • Getting the best from your team
  • Working effectively with peers

The things that might help you be effective as a leader could include:

  • Getting feedback from others about what they value most from you
  • Letting go of things that you are not good at
  • Getting to know your team and their motivations
  • Building relationships with others at a similar level across the organisation.

Being effective in job interviews

This is one of those areas where perfection is almost impossible because you simply don’t do them often enough.

The good thing is perfection isn’t expected either.

If you think about being effective in a job interview, you might think in terms of:

  • Getting offered the job (the ideal)
  • Being one of the candidates who is in the discussions about who to appoint.
  • Leaving a positive impression of you, even if you didn’t get the job.
  • Knowing you did your best

What might help you to do that includes:

  • Doing sufficient preparation ahead of the job interview.
  • Having answers to hand to the most common questions
  • Acting professionally whatever is thrown at you in the job interview
  • Using example and stories to illustrate your experience, achievements and contributions

Thinking effective does in my view really helps take some of the pressure off, helps you keep moving forward and avoids you getting stuck in the perfection trap.

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