Hmm. This is a really tough question.
Perfectionism isn`t a problem if you are acting in the best interest of your customers, especially if your customers have high expectations. For example, your business makes food products. Perfectionism here is a matter of real importance; your products have to taste good, be safe to eat, adhere to regulations, etc. In this case, I would think perfectionism is reasonably justified. You have to adhere to many standards in this respect, right?
After all, it would only take one two poor experiences with your products to drive down sales, assuming these experiences were spread across enough of your customer base. Like most consumers, I rely on the assumption that the food I buy is safe but I do worry about it nonetheless. Some years ago I spent an afternoon in an urgent care center after becoming *seriously* ill with food poisoning. By seriously ill, I mean the doctor watched me for a few hours to see if I would have to be admitted to the hospital. I also spent three days feeling sicker than at any other point in my life. Perfectionism with respect to food product safety is warranted.
Delivering on brand promise and user experience isn`t a bad thing, and some perfectionism is in order. A lot of businesses are slowly ruined by management who doesn`t care about customer experience or a well-run operation. Perfectionism has its place as long as it is actually contributing to the top/bottom line and to the general wellbeing of an operation. Perfectionism becomes a problem when you deliver a great experience but you don`t believe it`s good enough or you focus on "flaws" that are little more than figments of your imagination.
You have to sort out the "real" from the "imagined". Sometimes perfectionism is a reflection of unrealistic standards. Does your perfectionism include micro-managing the way twist ties are fastened to the bags that contain your product? Does it include making sure there are very few loose crumbs in packages of cookies? Does it include making sure that the surface of each cookie has an acceptable number of visible raisins? That might be taking things a bit too far if your operation is not designed to execute to that level-of-detail.
The issues of perfectionism and excessive self-reliance are fear and anxiety driven. I call this, from my own experiences "business anxiety" and of course these are the result of the pressures of being in business. If you are in charge of an operation, there is naturally a lot of pressure to perform because high performance execution generates good results and success. Are you are worried about execution to the point that you take over everything? If so you need to write out the reasoning behind your brand promise and make sure that it`s communicated to everyone involved. Once people understand your "obsession" it can become their "obsession" as well. But when it`s locked inside your mind alone, your focus on quality might seem completely neurotic to someone who doesn`t realize that packages containing even one broken cookie result in higher store returns.
This is just such an easy way to work and instead of barking orders or making rules that people perceive as arbitrary or strange, you simply say "this is our brand promise, this is the promise we make and that`s why we have to worry about these details". It`s so much easier to work with people who understand *why* you want something specific rather than just issuing edicts that people might/might not understand. Get your people behind your brand promise! If necessary put up signs and posters with the brand promise guidelines. Show people why they are stakeholders in your brand promise.
For me, excessive self-reliance was part of the learning process... I`m not good at everything... in fact I can be *quite* or even *excessively* incompetent if I have to deal with matters outside my area of expertise. In terms of quality, I generate poor results when I don`t delegate to people who have more experience or the relevant experience that I lack. It`s a bit of arrogance to assume that you`re good at everything, right? Delegation - letting go - actually leads to better quality as long as your staff is educated on the reasons behind your quality decisions, strategy, and so forth.
It`s utterly amazing what even a little information will do. Share your concerns with staff but share them in terms of reasoned thinking. Not arbitrary thinking. Build a foundation that is results oriented with clear reasoning.
When I refer to perfectionism being a problem I`m not talking about product quality. We always have and will continue to produce products of the highest quality.
I`m thinking more about intangibles. One thing that comes to mind is the process of selecting a brand identity. We`re working on that phase of a new product line development and I should say we`re happy with the outcome. The problem is the time it took to get there. Lately I just feel like I`m driving with the brakes on.
I could have saved huge $$$$$$$$$$$ if I wouldn`t have been in such a hurry!
Originally, with my business, I settled for good enough, now that`s a mistake! It took several years of being reactive before I turned things around for myself and my company- completely! Believe it or not, some of my greatest success came from this site. I asked for honest evaluation of my site and price point. Thanks to sincerely good, quality, honest people, I spent two months, found a new manufaturer and cut my cost in half! My pricing went from 99.95 to 49.95 and sales finally shot right up there!
Don`t be in such a hurry to succeed that you settle! I hope this helps~