This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.
When it comes to trust-building, excellence matters. It relates to two of four fundamental dimensions of trustworthiness (under the headings “credibility” and “reliability”). There’s a catch, though, because the way you pursue that excellence might actually damage your trust-building efforts.
It all boils down to the critical difference between perfection and impeccability. As a recovering perfectionist, it seems I have to constantly re-learn the distinctions. The bottom line: one is your friend and one most definitely is not.
To test whether or not your trustworthiness is at risk, let’s envision Perfection and Impeccability as two characters in a play. Which one do you resemble most?
In physical appearance, both are well-dressed:
|Shirt is buttoned to the top||Open collar reveals a crisp, white T-shirt underneath|
|Sits with his back rigidly straight||Assumes a relaxed yet confident stance|
|Drums his fingers nervously on the table-top||Sits quietly and patiently|
As to their personalities:
|Determined with gritted teeth to always get it right||Determined to be thorough and complete|
|Endeavors to never make a mess, and experiences distress when the inevitable occurs||Recognizes that all humans make mistakes and chooses to see the inevitable as an opportunity to build trust.|
|Controlling, stressed, and perpetually uptight||Focused, at ease, his sense of perspective and humor intact at all times|
In terms of the company they each keep:
|Often accompanied by Impatience, Judgment, and Frustration||Hangs out with Compassion, Confidence, and Self-Acceptance|
Probably the biggest difference between these two well-intended characters is what’s driving them, which is precisely where the trust problem comes in. Perfection is powered by a continuous need to satisfy something self-oriented. Impeccability, on the other hand, is other-oriented at the core; his motivation is the satisfaction that comes with being of service and making a difference.
Even Perfection agrees that Impeccability is much more pleasant to be around.
So, which character are you, most often?
Now, put yourself in your clients’ shoes. With whom would you rather spend your time?
Make It Real
This week, pay attention to your way of being in the pursuit of excellence. How often can you channel Impeccability instead of Perfection?
Read more about what might make your “S” look big, or brush up on the variables of the trust equation in Chapter 4 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.
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