Tuesday, October 25, 2020

Right Tempo

There is a correct speed for every activity. Some you need to do quickly, most you don't. Whatever tempo is the right one should be the tempo you choose. Getting the tempo wrong ruins the result.

If a piece of music is played too quickly or too slowly, the melody is spoiled. If a speaker talks too fast, the words become garbled. If too slow, the meaning is lost and the talk becomes boring. It's no different for the work leaders undertake. Rushing comes from habit and poor organization and leads to lowered quality and a sense of incompleteness. When you've rushed something, you know you haven't done it justice.

Choosing the right tempo is an important leadership skill. Outstanding leaders know when to move fast and when to wait on events. By rushing when it's inappropriate, poor leaders make bad decisions and unforced errors. By procrastinating when they need to act right away, they miss important opportunities.

Taking your time gives you the chance to reflect and consider a topic from many angles. When you rush through a task, you're forced into a one-dimensional perspective. There's no time to sit back and take different viewpoints. This is a severe disability. If you only allow yourself time to consider one way to approach an issue, how can you tell it's the right way?

The overemphasis on so-called industry best practice is a direct result of unnecessary haste. Faced with pressure to decide instantly, leaders naturally look for some way to offset the increased chances of making a poor choice and incurring blame for it. By turning to the most common and fashionable answers, they can at least claim what they did was what most people would have done, even if it turns out to be wholly unsuitable for their particular case.

Do you want an approved answer — or an answer that works? The difference probably lies in the time you allow yourself to decide.

Slow Leadership doesn't favor slowness for its own sake. In a world addicted to speed, it reminds people that doing some tasks correctly always takes time. Sometimes you need to wait to see how events will turn out before reaching a firm decision. Helping others learn always demands time and patience. So does weighing the choices. An organization that demands speed over accuracy is gambling with its money and its future. You may as well toss a coin.

Think about the right tempo for every task. When you find it, stick to it, regardless of the pressure to speed up. This is the first and most essential step to being in control of your time. Being a leader means setting out to control the way you use your time and the time of those who work for you, not letting external pressures control you.

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