Sunday 9 March 2014

The expectation of perfection is poison

If you create an expectation for flawless perfection, you are setting yourself up to be lied to.

It is a distressingly rare thing to find an organisational culture that successfully puts a premium on humility, public acknowledgement of ones' own flaws, and the learning of lessons for the future.

I am particularly reminded of my experience whilst working for Fidelity: As a company, they tried very very hard to create a culture that stood apart from the financial industry mainstream: One of maturity, professionalism, introspection and self awareness: Yet still the testosterone-stewed aggression of some individuals, combined with industry behavioural norms rapidly undid all that good work.

In time, the company's self-regulating mechanisms kicked in and the offenders were shown the door, but the experience shows how quickly and how easily a shallow message backed by aggression beats a deep message backed by considered thought.

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