“What comes easy won’t last long, and what lasts long won’t come easy.” – Unknown
We spend a lot of time as leaders talking about the pace of change in today’s world. We have to be agile and adaptable and ready for change because everything around us is changing quickly. And certainly that’s true.
But while rapid change is definitely part of our world, I was reminded by a successful leader this week that there’s a fine line between rapid change and impatience. As much as we need to be ready to change and change quickly, we also have to recognize that the impact of the changes we make is not going to be felt overnight. It might not be felt next week or even next month.
I’m not suggesting that we can make change and then not do anything for ten years while we wait for the impact to happen. I’m suggesting that we have to be careful to not jump from one flavor of the month to the next when the first flavor hasn’t even kicked in yet.
Here’s an overly simple example. A business we spend a lot of time with had noticed a significant decrease in margins, for all the same reasons many businesses have over the past 12 months. They took a look at their costs, and the marketplace, and increased their prices by a significant amount. A month later their margins didn’t look much different and they were tempted to try something else. The reality was that they had already sold product at the old prices, and it took some time for the new pricing to really kick in. Now, four months later, their margins are not only healthy, but healthier than they’ve been in three or four years.
That’s a really simple, obvious example, but it makes the point. Not every change you make will have a life-altering impact by next week. Sometimes it will take time, maybe significant time, to really take hold, and we may have to demonstrate some patience.
As you’re operating in a rapidly changing environment, remember not to let yourself get in too much of a hurry. Yes, we have to move quickly and change quickly, but there is such a thing as moving too quickly. Make sure that you aren’t moving at a constant sprint when sometimes a jog or even a fast walk will do.
Slow yourself down. Think things through. Exercise patience. It seems counterintuitive in 2022, but it will make a world of difference.