What if a mild bit of wrong led to a wild bit of innovation right?

May 31, 2019

I’m curious, have you ever uttered the words “I’m not trying to be perfect, I’m just trying to do it right”? 🙂

I know I have – a gazillion times.

Sharon Salzburg, in her New York bestselling book Real Love, says that perfection is a brittle state that generates a lot of anxiety because achieving and maintaining unwavering standards – whether they are internal or external – means we are always under threat. [ It’s that fear state which I talk about in my eBook Legally Innovative, and also in a previous blog post ].

Now don’t get me wrong, being a perfectionist can be a superpower, depending on the job at hand. However, like with any skill, its overuse can be detrimental.

Because “perfectionism never happens in a vacuum. It touches everyone around us”.

What if striving for perfection is holding us back from progressing legal innovation? From leaving our comfortable silos to pursue synergies. From transforming more rapidly as a legal profession. What if it is seriously prohibiting us from embracing change?

For IDEO’s founder Tom Kelley, creating a culture of innovation means living with continuous experimentation “as opposed to just sticking to the knitting”. In doing so, it drives excitement, fosters change and a spirit of continuous improvement.

In my view, the lawyer of the future needs to have a trifecta of intelligences: TQ [ Technical ], EQ [ Emotional ] and what I call IQ2.0 [ Innovation Intelligence ].

To stay relevant, it’s incumbent on “lawyers of all stripes everywhere” to create and maintain a culture of innovation.

In other words, to make legal transformation successful and well adopted, one needs to be prepared to make some wholesale changes and take many people on the journey with you.

These wholesale changes include taming your inner perfectionist.

If you tend towards perfectionism, it probably means you’re not taking risks. And that’s the conundrum. Lawyers are trained not to take risks, only to identify them. They are not innately innovators. Generally, lawyers must learn the behaviours of an innovator. Granted, it’s easier said than done. Practise makes for good progress.

As we move into the second half of 2019 and if you’re going to step right up onto the innovation stage, I challenge you to accept that things might not ever be perfect and that there are things you won’t have figured out until you get started. While it’s important to have a plan, it’s equally important to be able to go with the flow a little – not over think matters to paralysis.

Where there is innovation there are risks, unknowns, unanticipated elements and sometimes even mistakes.

To quote Salzberg, though it may seem counterintuitive to our inner perfectionist, recognising our mistakes as valuable lessons [ not failures ] helps us lay the groundwork for later success.

So, just go for it, all in. Head down, [ tech ] bum up.

Choose progress over perfection.

Because, what if a mild bit of wrong led to a wild bit of innovation right?

…………

I’m on a mission to inspire others to “do law” differently, with a progressive and innovative mindset. Learn more about unlocking your legal innovation potential and taming your inner perfectionist in my eBook Legally Innovative, a copy of which you can access here.

For visual innovation inspiration follow @legallyinnovative on Instagram.

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