Photo by sparklefish
On HBR.org Paul Nunes and Tim Breene write about “going slow in order to win fast”:
In today’s hyper-kinetic business world, most advice seems to be focused on how companies can speed things up. Cut that process step! Shorten that product development cycle! There’s tremendous pressure to get products out fast, in start-ups and large corporations alike. But some business leaders appear to be going in the other direction. The Wall Street Journal recently posited that the secret to Apple’s success lies in its “foot-dragging” — its history of resisting introducing products like the iPod until they can expertly fulfill consumers’ desires. Indeed, Apple has consistently prioritized user experience over the latest in whiz-bang technology. Its products are rarely the newest, but they are always the best at giving consumers what they really want. Apple grasps something that too few others do: Restraint is a key element of true business success.
Important point. Restraint is a key element not only in strategy and marketing but also in self-management and in managing other people.
We often equate activity with effectiveness. If we keep moving, if we do many things, if we squeeze the most into one day it means that we are doing our job well. I guess sometimes this is true. However, there is also power to be found in stillness, focus and undivided attention.
Have you ever sat down with a manager or peer to talk and you had the feeling he is not really with you? Was he glancing at his computer screen (or phone), answering questions you did not really ask, and taking the conversation in directions that were not really relevant but just seemed to pop into his mind? In other words, did you feel he was just not with you?
Now, think about the last time you did this to somebody else.
Our thinking and language are so entwined with things like multitasking and span of control that we neglect to appreciate the power of full attention and tend to forget to put the quality over quantity of an activity.
So, how are you practicing restraint? How are you focusing you attention? Are you in a frenzy of activity or are you putting all you have into the things that matter?