Point of view: Fight perfectionism

Molly Flatt

Do you hesitate to release anything into the public realm until it is exactly right? Do you dread negative feedback online? Do you believe that if you can't do something properly, it's better not to do it at all?

If that attitude sounds familiar, you may well be suffering from what Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck calls a 'fixed mindset'. First published in the US in 2006, Dweck's book Mindset How You Can Fulfil Your Potential has been garnering some serious attention this side of the Pond following last year's UK paperback release. Dweck defines mindsets as 'beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. Think about your intelligence, your talents, your personality. Are these qualities fixed traits, carved in stone? Or are they things you can cultivate throughout your life?'

People – and organisations – with a fixed mindset, base their worth on a sense of who they 'are'. They often demonstrate perfectionist traits, such as extreme control, risk aversion, the creation of complex processes to stay safe and a reluctance to react quickly – all strategies developed to protect a sacred self. To a business with a fixed mindset, social media appears deeply chaotic, threatening the brand's carefully constructed identity with its playful irreverence and insatiable hunger for real time, relevant content.