I was really trying to make a tweaked WWE headline work for the title of this post. I'm not sure I succeeded. If you got from the title that you can watch Perfection being the enemy of Done, live, today, in a workplace near you, then it worked. If not, I'll try harder next time.
In my two minutes of in-depth historical research, I was able to trace the idea of perfection being the enemy of done from "perfect is the enemy of good," and the apparent original aphorism, "better is the enemy of good,"which I guess Voltaire said, in French, and it caught on. Getting things to "good enough" and then to "done" is a core concept in Seth Godin's teachings on business processes and has in its own modern time, really caught on.
Whoever changed "good" to "done" (was it you, Seth?) did the phrase a tremendous favor, in my opinion, because when you are trying to change the world for the better, done is the best kind of good you can do. Sorry, perfection, you lose.
This strongly held belief of mine has gotten me into trouble at times in past work situations and has made me look bad. And I hate looking bad, ugh!!!!! But getting the work out into the world has always been more important to me than first making it look and sound absolutely perfect.
Don't get me wrong, multiple typos or budget number errors in a proposal to a major funder are embarrassing and don't reflect well upon the organization submitting the proposal or the person presenting it, and are just not okay. The work we do really, really needs to be right.
But delaying the submission of said proposal by several weeks because it doesn't have the most aesthetically appealing design ever conceived by the human mind or because it hasn't been workshopped to within an inch of its life back and forth between seven different organizational leaders in 17 draft versions simply does not serve the desired outcome of the project: to present accurate and compelling information to a prospective donor in order to raise funds needed for the organization's top mission priority, which the organization will then go and accomplish, making the world a better place as a result. And yes, I do like that ludicrously long sentence just the way it is, thank you.
If you are working to make the world a better place, there is no time to %&$# around making something perfect when it could instead be out there in the world doing actual good. Do good work on your project, get it to good enough, and get it out there.