April 14, 2013

Decisions and Impatience

We live in an instant gratification world where quick wins are lauded and our impatience fills the zeitgeist. Get it now, fix it now, win it now, make that call, close that sale, launch that product, etc. I am working on a new venture and we want stuff done yesterday. In my quest to speed up the process, I often get in the way which is something we all need to keep in mind.

Managing our patience takes skill and dedication. When do you make a quick decision? When do you wait? When does it require more data? When are you getting lost in data and scope creep?

One of the biggest stories this week is the departure of JC Penny CEO Ron Johnson. Mitch Joel features the Johnson story in his new book Crtl Alt Delete and recently wrote about the swift departure, saying; “I hope 17 months doesn't become the norm.” 

Nimble is the norm and impatience is riding shotgun

In some cases, 17 months is too long, in others too short. I worked with a guy who proclaimed his mantra was - ready shoot aim. Make a decision, do it, deal with the consequences. I think some aiming is important but often we get stuck during the indecision stage, so balance is always the challenge. But waiting for the perfect time to move is a deadly pursuit.

Johnson was tasked with turning around an old brand in a very busy sector shrouded in churn and impatience. But Ron was fired and they're bringing back the CEO he replaced a year and a half ago hoping this time it'll work. Cue the Einstein quote.

Culture is king

Zappos is often used as an example where leadership, patience and culture merge into a cool place to work that makes healthy profit. Culture and revenue can live happily together if done right. The Zappos’ family values are; Deliver wow through service. Embrace and drive change. Create fun and a little weirdness. Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded. Pursue growth and learning. Build open and honest relationships with communication. Build a positive team and family spirit. Do more with less. Be passionate and determined. Be humble.

CEO Tony Hsieh admits both fast and slow decisions cost Zappos a lot of money while affecting their culture.

Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach engaging leaders to build successful talent and profitable business.

Flickr | Inc. | Tony Hsieh
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