If you’re into the sport of soccer, it’s must-see TV and the matches have, in general, lived up to the tournament’s stature as the best football tournament on the planet behind the FIFA World Cup. During one of the games, the commentator described a player in a way that triggered an immediate business thought and that’s today’s topic.
The defender was described as having “a lack of pace but always a perfect reading of the situation so he’s quite valuable.” In other words, he has the ability to read the situation on the field, react appropriately, and is rarely out of position even though he’s pretty slow relative to the other players on the pitch. In my mind, that’s a good description of some desirable business traits as well.
How many executives do you know that act on knee-jerk reactions? When they’re right, they’re often ahead of the field or have headed off a problem before it starts. When they’re wrong, however, they often spend resources chasing markets that don’t develop or betting on new technologies that never pan out. They end up out of position.
As businesspeople we can’t confuse activity for progress. Moving quickly is always desirable but moving a bit more slowly while compensating for our lack of speed with a much better understanding of the situation is even more desirable in my book. It’s not a particularly new thought: we’ve all heard the fable of the tortoise and the hare and I expect we all know a few folks we’d describe as “slow.” Slow is, in my mind, a relative thing – if they get to where they need to be because they can analyze a situation and react appropriately within the available time frame, they’re pretty valuable.
How about in yours?