In today’s digital world, where it’s good to be woke and sustainability activism is rife, it is not only people that are getting swept up in the by-wash of the 'perfectionism trap' but businesses too.
“Perfectionism entails striving for unrealistic or even unattainable goals, followed by disappointment when we fail to achieve them. That’s followed by cognitive dissonance from misalignment between perfect self-identity and imperfect performance…
Fundamentally, the assumption behind perfectionism is that the only route to self-acceptance and peace is flawlessness. It’s less about a desire for self-improvement and much more about seeking acceptance and approval. It entails conflating our identity and worth with our performance and accomplishments.”
And here lies the trap for leaders in business. If all your decisions are made in a bid to fit in and earn favour or acceptance for doing the perceived right thing, you are losing your authenticity as a business and will struggle to maintain a motivation and momentum to make a positive impact.
The perfection trap is preventing a lot of businesses from making a start on lifting the hood on their social licence risks and addressing them in an accountable, inclusive and transparent way. It’s not realistic to be perfect at everything. This expectation breeds fear and disempowerment where it’s easier to do nothing, or do so greenwashing and hope no one notices.
If you want to lead your team to take the business on a social licence journey, make it authentic and achievable, give them some ownership and include relevant stakeholders in the strategy. You will be amazed at the momentum and impact you will make.