Every generation feels its pace of life is more frantic than the one before. I wonder if “The Tortoise and the Hare” was written because life was moving too fast around 600 B.C.E.?
Speed is the answer to many things, but the things that matter most come slowly.
In an age when running around with your hair on fire is desired and admired, strategic slowness is the path to enduring success.
Four things to do slowly:
#1. Solve other people’s problems slowly:
The best way to be helpful is to help people help themselves.
Successful leaders create space for the people who created the problem to find solutions. Every problem you solve – for someone – trains them to look to you for solutions next time. It feels powerful, but it’s limiting.
Leaders who solve other people’s problems lose sight of their own priorities.
#2. Reject advice slowly:
Wisdom sounds foolish to those who need it most. Strangely, dumb people often grow smarter as time passes. Think of your parents.
What seems dumb may be smart.
Ask followup questions when advice seems dumb.
- Tell me more.
- What do you mean by that?
- Why do you say that? (Voiced with curiosity, not contempt.)
#3. Listen slowly:
Strong leaders lean into silence.
A few seconds of silence, after asking a question, feels like an eternity. The best among us avoid filling silence with distracting jibberish.
Power-pauses create space for thought. Take a breath.
#4. Start your day slowly:
The tone of your day is set at the beginning.
Get out of bed fifteen minutes earlier so you can reflect and find focus. Some urgencies are trivialities. Chasing the most urgent issue is followership, not leadership.
Going slow is part of enduring success.
- Walk slowly.
- Eat slowly.
- Complain slowly.
- Decide slowly when decisions matter.
What do leaders need to do slowly in order to find enduring success?