Is speed expensive? Pushing ourselves is getting crazier. Constant hussling can lead to large and small errors of judgment. We get so caught up in living 24/7 lifestyles that we start missing big pieces of the success puzzle. People are the key to most businesses, but look at how we treat them. We push past them to get into the subway car or we block the train exit corridor, because we are transfixed by a tiny screen. We cut drivers off in traffic to get a 10 second edge. We try to barge into elevators before the inhabitants have all moved out. We hit the panic button on a piece of work and make everyone jump through hoops to make sure the deadline is met. We either end the sentence for the person we are speaking with or we cut them off and lunge in with our own preferred words and ideas.
Doing more, faster with less, we are constantly hustling to gain time. The process becomes addictive. The unrelenting daily email tsunami pushes us to gain extra time - all the time. You would never know that the subway trains arrive every two minutes in Tokyo, by the desperate way some people are scrambling to get into carriages. This unquenchable thirst for saving seconds becomes our norm. Our "contemplative self" is subsumed by the "mad rush us", leaping around like a lunatic. We start to lose awareness of the impact we are having on those around us. Our words and actions become one-way traffic as we do unto others, as we dictate. What do we all preach though? Customer focus, good listening skills, sensitivity to the client’s needs, consultative sales, etc.
Decades ago I saw a Mr. Boo Chinese comedy, in which the hero Mr. Boo steps on the toe of another passenger in the subway car, doesn’t apologise and gets into an argument with the stranger. In the next scene he is visiting the house of his new girlfriend and of course the father turns out to be the gentleman he was rude to in the train. Very funny, as we watch his embarrassment.
Imagine if every interaction you have with others, where you are focused on hustling for your personal gain, came back to haunt you like Mr. Boo’s experience. How would this change your behavior? You would definitely take more care about the people around you, how you spoke with others and your general interactions with humanity. You would start aligning a lot more of those heroic Vision, Mission and Value statements with your actions. You would start to value the input of others, because for the first time in a long time, you would actually be paying full attention to what they are saying. You would be more considerate of others.
The slow food movement was a reaction to the impersonalisation of the food service industry. We need a slow business movement to do the same thing in the way we run our businesses. Scrambling for extra seconds, so that we can spend more time glued to screens featuring Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email etc is actually pretty pathetic, when you sit back and take in what we are all busily doing with our time. Contemplation is vaporizing as we constantly hussle. Who we really are and what we actually stand for in our value system is getting bent out of shape. One of the things I really admire about Japanese society is how, with a massive population living cheek by jowl for centuries, they have managed to remain so considerate of others.
So if you find yourself hussling like mad, stop and ask yourself, what is the cost of all this speed? What am I actually doing with all of these contraband minutes? Unleash the contemplative you instead and practice tuning yourself into other people. This is the universal, timeless, key business success skill – our ability to do well in our engagement with others and we are in danger of losing it
Develop more self awareness
Give people your 100% attention when you engage with them
Make haste slowly