The Weekend Australian – July 2020

Don’t Even Try to be Perfect

You need to embrace your flaws, not try to erase them.

Story By: Melissa Yeo


Blame your work from home set up all you want, but it is likely the problems you’re experiencing in your remote workforce were present well before the start of the pandemic, and they are likely to plague long after. So says feedback expert Georgia Murch, who has worked on developing people and culture with of Australia’s biggest businesses including Atlassian, Telstra and Australia Post.

“Workplaces have been disjointed for a long time, we are just blaming technology now,” she says noting the uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus is an easy scapegoat for poor performance or productivity losses.

When job security and unemployment is an ever-present threat, she says the easy thing to do is to give into the “pandemic of blame”, but she advocates instead for a journey of self-discovery and acknowledgement of your flaws.

“Many people are living in a permanent stress response at the moment – people losing jobs, in isolation or they are stuck with people they don’t want to be with.” Murch says.

“What I have learned about people staying in stress all the time, be that in the workplace or at home is that it’s the stories we tell ourselves about the environment that is the problem.”

Murch is the first to admit that this year hasn’t gone to plan: on the eve of the release of her third book the pandemic hit, she had to leave her home, and the death of a close family member made her question her own choices. “You have to get out of the way of your own thinking,” she says.

“Lockdown presents an opportunity to start dealing with all our stuff – at a basic level we need to be courageous enough to sit in really painful stuff, like not being right and owning poor choices. “That helps us to forgive ourselves and others.”

After 25 years in the industry, the self-described ‘quirky corporate’ says she has found a key inhibitor to cohesive teams is the self-talk from within, plus the failure to let go of the pursuit of perfection.

“My expertise was always on teaching how to give and receive feedback, but what I found was that the biggest problem people have in connecting is not their words but what they tell themselves,” she says.

Just because you have a thought doesn’t mean it is true, and I think we get caught up a lot of the time in the difference between perspective and opinion.”

Her new book, Flawsome, provides guidance with a four-part journey to self-betterment at home and at work, starting with identifying your flaw, learning your triggers, finding the truth and working on turning your talk around.

Taking inspiration from all walks of life – her own teenage crush, a lad called Paul; Richard Branson; Taylor Swift; and the thousand of interviews conducted across her career – Murch says perceptions you take into one part of your life naturally flow into the other.

“The person we take to work is the same person we take home,” she says.

One of the biggest things I have found in my surveys is that most people feel they can’t be themselves at work.

“There is a belief that you need to show up to work with your game face on, but that pursuit of perfection is stifling personal and organisational growth.”

In her experience to date, tech and start-up names have lived up to their reputation as the best places to work, not only for their Google-like campuses or canteens but also their recognition of the value of individuals and the collective success when employees are given the opportunity to focus on themselves.

“I’ve seen time after time that if workplaces tune into the people, success follows; if you flip that and pursue only success, you are going to find that people leave.”