“Anal Retentive” – bear with me here, and just check the dictionary or Wikipedia. It’s a person who’s attention to detail becomes obsessive. Trust me, you’ll encounter these people sooner or later in your work. It’s the person who is a slave to policy. He’d rather the organization fail, than actually bend the rules. I’ve met hundreds of them, and they’re the people who speak up after you’ve produced a successful project to “remind” you that some incredibly minor detail wasn’t totally accurate.
In one TV station, I met a production manager who made his staff fill out three different forms just to pull a videotape reel off the shelf. In another organization, an anal retentive had created an administrative chart that looked like Dante’s trip through hell. Another one wanted detailed reports from everyone at the end of the week, so he could track every productive minute from every employee.
My advice? Ignore these people. They don’t get the big picture. To them, it’s more important to stick with the plan than actually be successful. They’d rather see the project or organization tank than deviate from the norm.
They aren’t bad people, but they’re trapped in limited thinking they can’t escape from.
If you want to change the world, then ignore them. Please.