May 032016

No PatiencePatience and the business of managing a successful organization are clearly incompatible. Here’s why:

First, rapidly changing markets make the pace of many businesses nearly frenetic compared to just a couple of decades ago. One of the newest buzzwords is the need to be nimble, rapidly defining and responding to new challenges. Mark Sanborn states, “Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business.”  Patience equals slow, and slow can result in loss of market share or even the loss of the entire organization!

Second,  in the workplace, social factors often get in the way of progress. What’s popular over what’s policy. Without strict and consistent adherence to a company’s policies, anarchy results. Or at least confusion and variability in performance. Being patient, accepting intent rather than conformity, allowing staff to follow the principle rather than the “letter” of the policy, this can breed apathy at best, contempt at worst.

Last,  it is critical to keep a bottom line mentality at all times. Exhibiting patience with variability in performance suggests a higher priority on human resources than profit margins. This is clearly a lose-lose proposition, for without margin, everyone loses! Firmly keeping an eye on key metrics that are indicators of success is critical. Getting distracted by the individual and changing needs of staff causes a loss of focus and inevitable failure. It confuses the definition of where real value lies.

My pastor gave me much to think on with his sermon this past weekend.  The topic? God’s great patience with us. It made me wonder…why is He so patient with us? Doesn’t He have a bottom line, an ultimate objective? Was there anything in the sermon that has any relevance to me as a leader in the workplace? Regardless of your particular faith walk, I’d like to hazard a big, fat YES!

If you agree, then take my three reasons listed above, and use your creative powers to turn them on their heads. Is patience and the work of work wholly incompatible?  Is patience contraindicated in the office? I think….NOT.

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