Thank you for being late (Thomas L. Friedman)
I don’t like arriving late but what if, as Mr Friedman suggests in his book, it can create value.
Being late, early in the process, can create time to reflect and, above all, clarity. Clarity we so often lack. Clarity we don’t seek because there’s no time. Clarity.
Like you, I acutely feel this pressure to meet deadlines. And often the pressure to meet these deadlines has a canny way of overshadowing the opportunity.
There’ve been too many days when anxiety kicked in, when I just wanted to get things underway as soon as humanly possible, so not to lose any precious time. Dragging those around me into the doing, somehow trying to get on with the job.
Until I noticed someone much wiser than me ask a client a few well-chosen questions. At face value, asking these questions seemed to challenge the deadline (we were supposed to be all go, right!), but instead it helped to achieve three things:
1/ brought more clarity around what’s required and why
2/ made everyone feel more confident doing their task, and
3/ culminated in better results, delivered on time
On reflection, my best work comes from having sound client insights. A few good questions, suitably put, go a long way.
Btw, Friedman’s book is a good read if you'd like to find out more about how we must learn to be fast (innovative and quick to adapt), fair (prepared to help the casualties of change), and slow (adept at shutting out the noise and accessing their (our clients) deepest values) – all in the age of acceleration.
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