Last night someone on the TV said we must aim for perfection ie 100% because then we might achieve 95%. He suggested if we didn’t aim that high we would end up settling for 75%.

I understand the sentiment but surely it can’t be that simple. After all much of my coaching and facilitation is aimed at helping those who are seriously and negatively impacted by their drive for 100%.

I’ve been thinking about perfection since I watched the Red Arrows in an aerial display over Edinburgh a week ago soaring over us with such precision and yes perfection. Here’s where I’ve got to and would love your comments to help refine and expand my thinking.

Whilst I don’t know what level of perfection the Red Arrows need to be at for a display I’d suggest it’s nearing 100%. It needs to be and perhaps that’s the key – if the risk is high enough the price paid (in any resources e.g. time, effort, £ etc ) in achieving perfection is necessary. However for those flying with the Red Arrows I’m sure the activities they need to perfect are very specific. They’re not asked to be in armed combat or carry out other duties. They’re allowed to concentrate all their attention on perfecting a specific number of skills over a very specific period of time. I’m sure that must be the same for any other risky and perfection needing professions such as surgeons, emergency services etc.

So what do I think we can learn from this?