The Concept of Perfection – Core Beliefs Matter
Chris Edmonds is the founder and CEO of the Purposeful Culture Group, which he launched after a 15-year career leading and managing teams.
The concept of perfection is a powerful tool to help leaders assess their organization’s culture. This concept comes from the executive coaching world. The concept of perfection doesn’t mean things are “excellent.” It means that the things around us – how we behave, how people behave, etc. – happen the way they do because we have created – and live in – a “perfect system.”

Our beliefs and thoughts drive our decisions and behaviors, for better or worse.

Here’s how this “perfect system” works. If I’m overweight, it’s because of my calorie intake and my calorie expenditure. If I believe I can eat anything, I do. When I eat fried foods or lots of sugar or processed foods, and don’t exercise daily, my body simply reacts to the fuels I’m giving it: I gain weight.

I shouldn’t be surprised. My beliefs lead to this logical consequence of my eating and exercise habits.

If I have a health issue that contributes to my being overweight, I must do everything I can to manage that issue – with treatment, healthy habits, exercise, etc. I must change the system so that I live a healthier life.

Here’s another example. What if I believe that my car should always run perfectly? If I don’t do regular maintenance on my car – tune ups, oil changes, tires checked, recalls addressed, etc. by a qualified mechanic – I should not be surprised when my car doesn’t start or if it breaks down on the side of a busy highway.

Here’s a work example. What if I believe that an “I win, you lose” culture is good for my team and business? When team members treat each other with aggression and selfishness, that’s because your beliefs allow those team members to behave in those ways. In some ways – probably in many ways – those behaviors have been reinforced, maybe even encouraged.

Our beliefs and thoughts drive our decisions and behaviors, for better or worse.
Or – if your team members share information, cooperate seamlessly, and create solutions together, that’s because your beliefs guide those team members to behave in those ways! Those desirable behaviors have been reinforced and encouraged.

Knowing the concept of perfection, we shouldn’t be surprised at our – or others’ – reality.

As an executive coach, I can easily see how the concept of perfection plays out in the lives of my coaching clients. The scenarios they describe are the result of their “perfect systems.” I and they shouldn’t expect to see any different behaviors, decisions, or actions, given their current core beliefs and thoughts.

If you experience “less than positive” behaviors, decisions, and actions in your organization’s culture, understand that people are living in a “perfect system.” They’r acting exactly as you should expect. If you want more positive behaviors, decisions, and actions, change your underlying beliefs and thoughts. Be specific and intentional about the ways you want people to interact – with leaders, with peers, with customers, everyone.

That revised “perfect system” will improve the quality of work relationships – and lead to a purposeful, positive, productive work culture.

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