The speed of our jobs doesn’t often make patience feel like a virtue, but it is. Patience doesn’t mean slowness – we can be patient even while we’re moving at a million miles an hour – patience means choosing the moment to make our big moves.
Reid Hoffman says, “I believe that to scale a sustainable business, you need to combine patience, patience, patience – and move with explosive speed.” He’s describing the type of strategic patience we, and our clients, want to master.
Strategic patience requires us to take inventory of the opportunities around us, set our priorities, and then wait to act until the odds are in our favor.
Think of the way an apple grows on a tree. We don’t want to pick it too early, because it won’t taste good. We don’t want to forget it’s there either, because eventually it will fall to the ground to rot. If we want the best tasting apple we can pick, we have to harvest it when it’s ripe.
Our jobs can be like minding multiple apple trees at once. We succeed when we get the harvest right, we fail when we forget we’re looking for anything else but ripeness (too busy counting how many apples we’ve grown, assuming last year’s calendar precisely applies to this year, taking too many naps under the trees, etc.).
We all have a daily grind. We all have to fuss with whatever the most pressing matters of the moment are. We add value for ourselves and we create value for clients when we identify the big objectives, prioritize the tasks and activities, and stay focused on measuring for ripeness.
“Patience, patience, patience, and then – explosive speed.” Plan for ripe apples, then know how to pick them when we see them.