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When perfection should be the goal

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in Leaders & Managers

You often hear that “Perfect is the enemy of the good,” and that “good enough is good enough.” But perfectionism does have its place.

Take Peter Jackson, director of the blockbuster movie trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings.” His special-effects technicians literally created new ways of making motion-picture images, largely because of their compulsive perfectionism.

Example: In the first movie, the computer-generated character of Gollum appeared in only two shots.

“We kept him in the shadows,” Jackson told Wired. “He wasn’t good enough for dialogue or a close-up in daylight. We worked on him for another year, and he was in 300 shots in ‘Two Towers.’ A month before delivery of that film, [visual effects supervisor] Joe Letteri insisted on redoing all of it because we’d finally gotten the [computer-animation] code [for Gollum] right.”

Sound obsessive?

In the final analysis, though, Jackson never truly faced the evils of perfectionism because he and his team had to live with the one great brake on their passion for perfection: deadlines. How perfect is that?

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