Impatience took him to the Top

Denny Strigl, former president and CEO of Verizon Wireless told me the quality that served him best in his career was impatience; the inability to tolerate delay, restlessness.

I never liked waiting for results. At a minimum, I wanted to see immediate solid progress toward obtaining results. It always drove me nuts when people would say if we only had this or that, then we could get things done.

The down side of impatience:

I think at first people feared me or at least were very leery of me. Frankly, I was uncomfortable when I thought people were intimidated because I knew my impatient style was to try to make people better performers than they thought they could be.

Also, on occasion my impatience resulted in decisions which later needed to be modified of even reversed. Key here is to be honest and make any needed changes quickly.

Impatience can’t stand alone. It has to be used in conjunction with other characteristics mentioned in the book, integrity, accountability, etc.

Mix impatience with the wrong characteristics and you get disaster. People figure out you are not working for the common good and rebel; in which case nothing gets done other than back stabbing and innuendo.

Managing impatience:

I think I learned how best to use it. In other words it was important to me that people understood my impatience was to make the team better. Maybe I did learn how to use it productively as opposed to destructively.

Should others be impatient:

It worked for me because it is who I am. I don’t think it can work for everyone, although I would argue some impatience is a very good thing. If someone is not naturally impatient, they shouldn’t try to be something they are not.


What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of impatience?