Patience Pays

Gauri Chhabra
I know why there are so many people who love chopping wood. In this activity one immediately sees the result said Albert Einstein. So fidgety are we about life, that we expect immediate and instantaneous results about everything. Instant tea, instant coffee, instant messages have made us think myopic and short term. We do not get an appraisal we had hoped, we think of switching over, we do not get what we wanted in a relationship, we think of switching over…Life has become a jump from one hot coal to another. Does Patience pay?
Yes, it does. My recent trip to the US told me that the infrastructure that today stands tall over everything was built in the times of Great Depression in the early thirties. Instead of crying and cribbing all energies were focused on a long term goal- creating good infrastructure. And patience has paid.
There are lessons to be learnt here. How do we become patient as executives and wait for the long term without giving way to inertia?
Here is how to do that
Do a Personal Reappraisal
Two leadership qualities essential for success are- persistence and patience. Recognize patience. Evaluate yourself, do you turn fidgety over the slightest upheaval. Conduct a personal reappraisal- rise above the day to day mundane activities and evaluate your role in the broader scheme of things. A few days ago, one of the marketing executives of a leading firm who had been intimately absorbed in the development and implementation of a new strategy admitted that her tight rein over things actually clogged the whole system.Realizing that she started working through her team rather than over her team.
Have confidence
Have confidence in your company’s vision. Remember, you chose it in the first place. Switching over might be very easy and who knows, you may actually have to go downhill starting from the scratch trying to prove yourself. Confident people are patient people, and patient people marshal strong confidence behind their visions.For example, in case you are managing an onsite offshore model company structure, you need to identify that the eastern model will have heavy assembly line operations whereas the western counterpart will have more lean sophisticated structure. You need to tighten and bring about a marriage between the two before jumping to conclusion and quitting one.
Doing so will take time
and patience…
Make decisions that are pertinent now:
At times we need to put off decisions that your boss would like you to take now but that require some time as per your judgment.If your company has been smitten with the west and wants you to roll out a plan that week, just say that you might need to make a certain amount of ground before actually setting the ball rolling. This way you accept change without being hushed into it unprepared. Do not take decisions pre maturely.Make decisions that can be carried out. In case you make decisions that your organization cannot support, you would be taken as not only impatient but muddled. Patient executives carefully pursue strategies their cultures can implement, focusing on changes they know their people can successfully make.
Never take decisions others should take
In emergencies and crises, executives can’t resist making decisions for their subordinates, but when you actually make a decision somebody else should make, it affects the culture. You are actually killing proactivity from the organization. Next time you face a crisis and you have too much on your hands to tackle it, no one will step up and take a decision because you never gave them the opportunity in the past. They do not know what is expected out of them.
Overcoming impatience:
No one is perfect. We all act on impulse and out of impatience. However, we can overcome it. Keep an impatience journal with you, recording every impatient moment you experience during the course of your day.Briefly evaluate the moment in writing, commenting on why it happened, what you could have done to prevent it and how will you improve your response to similar situations in the future.The more often you writein the journal, the faster you will increase your patience.Once you identify the situations, it becomes very easy to anticipate and control them.
Keep your vision alive
Once you have practiced patience, do not just sit back and let everything control your future.Exercise it daily.I have come across certain executives who will master a component of right attitude and then get so engrossed in mundane activities that it fizzles out and slips through the cracks. Uniqueness vanishes and again you come back to square one. What is important it to persistently follow your vision and do a self- appraisalasto where you are interms of achieving that.
Measure your long term success
If you only measure short term success and progress, never tying it to the long term, your overall vision would actually slip out of your own mind.To live in the longterm, you need yardsticks that indicate progress over a long haul.These are especially important in a climate where quarterly earnings statements, stock analysts reports, your own bi -annual appraisal in terms of adding to the top or the bottom line take precedence over long term goals.You may not have had the best appraisal this year, what are the skills you learnt that might help you in the longterm. Did your role and task significance broaden in horizon. If latter is the case, there is no point switching over.
Talk about longterm
Be like an investment plan. It would only give you rewards if you invest long term. Think tomorrow and plan for it today.Your patience will enable you to orchestratethe use of other skills also.Since it helps you employ the other skills at the right timeand in the right combinationand proportion,it allows for exquisite timing, a key ingredient for lasting excellence.
Impatience invariably will lead to poor decisions, compromised competence, and a focus on short range results at the expense of long term ones. If you are patient,you have the staying power that invents the future.Know how to deny yourself and delay instant gratification for delayed gratification…
Life will become the way you script it…