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We no longer have patience

14 hours with colored pencil

In this age of instant gratification, we no longer have patience. We talk about efficiency and speed and at the same time talk about 10,000 hours and discipline. But I think the efficiency has won out because the number 2 item businesses focus on (number 1 being shareholder value) is efficiency. But sometimes you have to take the time to learn how to do things, to experiment, or to do things well.

We don’t come out of the womb fully functional. Besides the nine months of gestation, there are approximately twelve years of schooling (from age 6 to 18) to get us to the point of college. Then four more years of college before companies deem us ready for work.

Yet companies don’t want to take the time to train anybody. We’ve forgotten how.

Companies do not want to wait for anybody to learn how to use a tool; they expect use right out of the box.

Companies don’t want to hire people if they don’t seem to have all of the skill sets. They want new hires to hit the ground running, despite that there may be some cultural learning to do.

Companies exhort people to innovate but big corporations are full of corporate drones who fear stepping out of the conformity. They follow the saying “The nail that sticks out gets hammered”. It may be really hard to do something different and think you are going on the right path when everyone else is going the other way. Besides strength in numbers, there is intelligence in the crowd, right?

But doing what everyone else is doing is not innovation. It takes trial and error to find something new that is successful. But who has the patience for it?

Hyper-realistic drawings take at least 20 hours to develop. Besides skill (a huge dosage of it), it takes time and patience to develop such a drawing. It takes persistence to develop such a high level of skill too. But in a world of efficiency and shareholder value, who has the patience for that?

I have spent most of my working life doing the efficiency thing by automating my work as much as possible so I can carve out the time to do analytical work no one else is doing. Now I find I have no patience. It’s easier to browse through the web rather than to sit down and be patient and develop a drawing. I just want to be done with the drawing.

Same kind of process is going on when we run into problems. We don’t stick it out to find out if the problem is really an intractable problem or we just need time to figure out and learn. We just give up. Our recent foray into automating a report is a prime example of it. We almost gave up at the first sign of problems. But we need to give these people time to learn and experiment, to see what works on their machine, to get comfortable with the program. If after a few tries folks are still having problems, then we would need to reconsider. Right now it’s too soon. We’re just not giving them time to acclimate themselves.

Sometimes we need to slow down in order to experience new things, to learn, to master, to do top notch work.



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