Why Can’t You Just Take Your Time?

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Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

This a piece to not only allow me to get my mind straight but also express my feelings about a topic very close to my heart nowadays.

I’ve always been an advocate for taking small incremental steps to improve or learn something. In every single aspect of our lives, all the best improvements we have realized happened after working on them for long periods of time.

It takes us about a year to learn to say a word. It takes even more time to learn to walk, jump, run. We learned our native language through many years of hearing and practicing it.

To me, it feels obvious choices need to be pondered to a certain extent and executed upon in the most carefully crafted way.

Yet, it is also sometimes important to make the jump, to try some things in a sudden manner.

You won’t learn to bungee jump until you actually take that extra step and let yourself fall. You won’t get the girl if you never work up the courage to start a conversation.

This extends to working and to companies themselves.

In our society, everything changes rapidly and enterprises need to adapt accordingly. Obviously, this means we shouldn’t spend too much time and sometimes make sudden changes to be able to follow and surpass the competition.

However, this should never be the rule of evolution.

A bit more than a year, I saw my company make a sudden change which shocked everybody in the company, throughout the world.

After more background information on the choice and considering the company’s situation, I understood that choice even though I didn’t appreciate the way it was carried out.

But then, I started to notice a pattern. Between critical people getting fired out of the blue, leaving the rest strained, struggling to keep up with clients requests and quality expectations, and changes in regards to our processes internally and with our suppliers, I slowly started becoming disappointed.

Along the following months, changes kept on happening, all in the same manner. We were asked to adapt to those changes at a rhythm impossible to follow.

The top management proved time after time their disconnection with their employees’ actual workload and with the reality of the business.

Mistake after mistake, it got worse and sudden changes in protocol or workforce started to become numerous.

I lost faith in my management and the only reason I kept on working was that I didn’t want to add troubles for my colleagues in Japan more than we were already getting.

And then, suddenly, we got an announce which confirmed my fears yesterday. A new — even bigger — change was, once more, put in effect immediately.

The difference this time is that it is a clear sign of the company starting to take its distance from us without officially announcing that part.

For obvious reasons, I cannot tell exactly what it is but between this and numerous other changes impacting negatively my projects directly or indirectly, I learned once more an important business lesson:

Work is a simple part of our existence. It does not differ in any way from the rest of our life.

It is simply not possible to make the right decision without having a clear understanding of all the factors surrounding it.

And, as stated before, everything takes time. Understanding something does not happen in a day and acting on facts should be acted upon step by step.

Sudden actions should be the exception that confirms the rule. Not the other way around.

I can now be sure my company won’t be around in 5 years as I have witnessed its management and the disappearance of its employees’ positive mood and enthusiasm.

Apart from a few souls, every single person in the company is taking the right decision: get out before it’s too late.

But here’s where it gets funny.

We have all learned our lesson: Everybody is taking daily small steps to prepare themselves for their next adventure. And nobody is taking a rash decision.

Companies need to evolve with their market. It is a fact.

But only the companies which have taken proper incremental steps succeed. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and so on may seem to have made sudden changes to grow. Apple came out with the iPod followed by the iPhone and changed the market’s landscape. Amazon used to sell books only.

Those evolutions did not actually happen in a split second. Small steps were taken, constantly pushing themselves to be better than the previous day. It is only in their final stages that we observed those steps merge to become the mainstream companies we now know.

Companies in a hurry to become number 1 can never achieve it due to a simple lack of patience. Make the sudden changes be exceptions, not the rule.

Just take your time. Think long term. For you and the people around you.

I believe it is the only way to become better, both as people and as companies.

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