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  • Writer's pictureCraig Risi

A little patience can lead you to success


I was planning on discussing something more technical this week, but having spoken to a couple of people over the past few weeks about their challenges in thinking Agile, I’ve decided to put the focus on why we need to have some patience to be successful in our business strategies. It might seem counter-intuitive in a world trying to change as fast as possible to now tell you to sit back and wait it out at times, but the truth is that excellence and results do take a while to come through and if we force change too often, we simply delay this follow through of success.


I’ve seen many managers and business look to quickly change things or try and correct measures and adjust when they feel any person, team or strategy is not working out, often not willing to hold out for the long-term gain because they would rather deal with their current short-term pain. This is often not wise because by preventing failure, you are preventing opportunities for others to learn or for teams and strategies to take shape. While I certainly understand that companies want to react to things that appear might not be working to minimize their losses, too often I find they end up doing this to look good and actually jeopardize their long-term growth.


Truth is, it takes time to build a great team or for any strategy to come to fruition and so when companies start reacting when the first quarter doesn’t pan out well – unless they’re convinced something is wrong with their initial strategy and have concrete evidence to back it up – they are actually showing hasty decision-making. Admittedly, yes sometimes strategies can go wrong and people turn out to be a poor fit, but most times they might only take 1-2 years to reap rewards and if managers show a little patience and resolve towards their strategy and team, they will be able to see the desired results. Nothing is stopping you from putting measures in place to identify missteps early, but always do it to keep the end in mind.


Patience in personal development

To provide a further example, I will apply this to different scenarios. Firstly as a manager and team lead, I need to allow my engineers to make mistakes and learn and not feel the need to address every wrong thing they do. Yes, there is always the opportunity to coach and if they aren’t learning from their mistakes, it’s a different matter entirely. Just don’t lose trust in them for every small mistake they make or they will never reach their true potential.


Patience in team development

Secondly, in teams we can see this when they have a bad week, sprint, month or even project and we can often be too quick to address the mistakes rather than reinforce what was done right and build on that. A reactionary change will not help anyone and what engineers need in this scenario is more stability o thought and process than a broad reinvention of the wheel.


Patience through a crisis

A common mistake I see leaders make is to feel the need to react when things go very wrong. Whether it's a client escalation, some scolding or directive for management or even a critical bug - it's important to think with a level head. Yes, we may need to act quickly to resolve some initial pain, but that doesn't mean you need to respond with corrective actions either. In my experience, all quick corrective actions do is cause you to lose trust with others. At times preventative change may be needed, but rather make this assessment over time and with your team than pretending you have it all together in jumping to a solution. The best leaders remain calm under pressure because they see the bigger picture and don't let the short term failures get to them or their teams.


Patience with your long-term strategies

And lastly, corporate strategy. This is perhaps the most difficult to wait out for because the results will often take a long time to truly find themselves. Be realistic when strategizing for how long things might take to turn around. This will help you not get discouraged or feel the need to realign when the company goes through a few bad quarters. It’s important to keep the long-term vision in mind and not try short-term fixes.


Patience can be developed

Sadly, it is a skill lacking in a lot of management and people I come across on a regular basis. There are a lot of great thinkers, smart people and leaders putting excellent plans into play and building great teams. What they simply lack is the patience to see their results through.And like most things, this is something that can be developed over time.

Being agile is a tricky concept because while we need to be responsive to change and improvement, we also need to know when to wait it out so that our strategies can finally come to fruition and allow or teams to shine. Think Agile, but have the patience to allow success to follow you too.

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