Do you ever watch Harry Potter for the 100th time and nod knowingly whenever you see Hermione? Here she comes. Ready to sabotage her own success by being perfect. We see you, Hermione.
Recently, I watched “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” with my kids. In one scene, Hermione turned in an essay that was two rolls of parchment longer than Professor Binns asked for. Despite knowing exactly what’s going to happen, I just want to shout, “WHY, HERMIONE, WHY???????????” 🤦🤦🤦 If I only I could extend my executive coaching services and help her see she doesn’t need to do that.
And it’s not just in movies, I saw this all the time when my son was in the firth grade. His bestie was preparing color-coded flash cards for quizzes, while my son is just rolling in with a fingers-crossed approach.
Guess what? They both get straight As. It’s definitely unfair, but these approaches are very gender-typical and extend from the classroom to the boardroom.
Embracing the Minimal Viable Product
As an executive coach for women, I see many people who only feel confident when they are PERFECT. Meanwhile, men are more comfortable relying on their “wits.” But, instead of getting ticked off, what can we learn from our finger-crossing friends?
We can learn to experiment with and embrace the MVP – Minimum Viable Product. A MVP is a product with only enough features to achieve the intended outcome.
Let’s go back to Hermione and her parchment. If Hermione’s intended outcome was an A on the essay, she should have written an essay with the minimum effort required to achieve a 93 (the lowest possible A). If she got an A-, she would know that she needed to give it a little more. If she got an A+, she should be beyond frustrated that she wasted her time with inefficient overwork.