“Things may come to those who wait, but only things left by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln
It’s certainly true that patience is a virtue. Rushing off and doing something stupid is a recipe for disaster. Some things take time to grow & develop, and some things, after careful study, are better left undone.
But how often do we use patience as an excuse? While moving too quickly and being rash are certainly to be avoided, a much more common problem that I’ve run into is the opposite – leaders who won’t make decisions or take action in the name of being patient. The reality is that it usually isn’t patience at all. It’s more likely something else.
Like FEAR, for example. Maybe they have a business that’s already successful and they just scared of messing it up. So they think that the way to keep what they have is to never do anything. The opposite is true: every day that goes by without making change or innovating or taking action is one day closer to losing what you already have.
Another problem goes back to LOCUS OF CONTROL (remember this?). Too many leaders won’t get out and get after it because they think it won’t make any difference. Why do all that extra work when it just won’t matter anyway? The answer is that it does matter. Every great leader understands the things they can control and focuses on using those things to create the future they want their organization to have.
The other big one is the idea that GOOD IS GOOD ENOUGH. That’s code for complacency. We’re fairly successful, I make OK money, we deliver decent service, our people are mostly engaged, etc. Why try for anything better? I came up with a bunch of reasons, but the one that fired me up the most was this one: you have an obligation to maximize the performance of your organization. You owe it to your employees, you owe it to your customers, you owe it to your vendors to make your organization as effective as possible. Your job as a leader is to provide value to others, and the best way you can do that is to make your organization great, not merely good.
So ask yourself: are we really hustling? Are we doing everything we can do to make our organization the best it can possibly be? Or are we using patience as an excuse to stay comfortable? Get after it – now.