Loading the dishwasher can be very instructive.
Once, during a family gathering, a lovely person commented as I added the dishwashing soap and closed the door, “Oh, my mother would kill you. That dishwasher isn’t full – she never let us run it unless it was completely packed.”
I smiled as I turned on the power button and let it run, knowing that we’d need those dishes for the next family meal, and we’d have another huge load to run afterwards.
So, the dishwasher was 7/8s full when I ran it rather than 9/8s full when she wanted to run it.
And I was completely confident in my choice. Because I knew exactly why I was running the dishwasher at that moment. Plus, it was my damn dishwasher.
Some of us go into things with a highly critical approach. We’re wired like Mr. Spock from Star Trek to look at things logically, analytically, coolly. When a kid comes home with an A-, our first instinct is to ask “Why wasn’t it an A?”
Doesn’t that make you wince to see it written like that? But some of us just can’t seem to help it.
And if your critical nature is getting you the results you want, then by all means keep going. If, however, you’re not building the bridges you want, creating the relationships you seek or getting the results you aim for, then you owe it to yourself and others to change your approach.
The drive for analytical perfection eats people up. Executives who create unrealistic standards, impossible goals and nitpick results are executives who have employee churn and, ultimately, lower productivity.They think they’ll do better by applying pressure, but exactly the opposite is true.
I mean, even Spock was half human. And it’s tapping into your human side which changes things.
It’s “I’d love to understand your process – tell me how you came to this conclusion.”
It’s “I can see you worked hard on this and I appreciate it.”
It’s “May I give you some feedback on this?”
It’s “Wow, I would have never approached it this way, but what you’ve got here is really good.”
You might feel like perfection is a dishwasher crammed your way – as full as it can possibly get – but I’m here to tell you that real perfection is paying attention to the reality of the moment. It’s knowing what’s needed yet being aware that someone else might have a very good plan you simply hadn’t thought of before.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a dishwasher to run before I start making dinner.