Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cultivating impatience in business

1881 Programme for Patience
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I'm not a very patient man. My sense of time has always been a few clicks faster than those around me. This helped me in academics as a kid -- but to a point. Impatience breeds boredom. And that leads to a host of issues with less-than-desirable outcomes.

But impatience can be -- over time -- channeled into a power for good. While everyone else will happily continue to drive over the speed bumps, we impatient find a way around them. Eventually, those around us notice and start following. And without any planning or process meetings, a new and generally accepted path is formed.

Businesses can be impatient, too. I see that as a Good Thing. Impatient companies recognize a need and fill it -- now. While there's nothing wrong with analyzing conditions to see if the timing is right, sometimes that just takes too long. Or sometimes the signs are so obvious that further study simply isn't needed.

How do you adopt impatience? I don't think you can. I think you are, or you aren't. But your business can learn to be. You may have to bring in talent from the outside. You may have to look through your list of "troublemakers" and see if they truly are worthless (then fire them) or if they just want things to move faster. Don't give them the reigns, but do give them some rope. You may be surprised what they can create, and what you might learn.

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  1. I am a very impatient person, as well. And, like you I develop an idea on the fly when I recognize that change is necessary. However, impatience is a bad thing if it fosters or creates bad habits or shortcuts. Too many businesses, desperate for revenues, are pushing their sales teams to get deals and close business at any cost. That is a form of impatience that is actually counter productive to effective change. Otherwise, I agree that taking action and doing something is much better and more productive than analysis and creating the best process over time. Thanks.

  2. I agree that there needs to be others in the organization to temper our impatience. And always someone -- or someones -- looking at the big picture, making sure the path stays true.


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