Developing a Patient Urgency
Reed Hastings of Netflix predicted that one day people would stream their movies over the internet. To prepare for that day, he experimented with a myriad of different formats and versions over the course of a decade. When the market conditions materialized, he moved quickly to transform Netflix into a successful streaming business. Hastings demonstrated a patient urgency in his approach.
The words patient and urgency locked together seem like a dogfight. How can a leader be both patient and urgent? The answer doesn’t require a leader to accept a paradox. Instead, the best leaders understand that there is a time for action and a time to prepare for the strike.
Preparing for the right moment, waiting for the best conditions, and giving others both the room and time to practice and experiment is what a patient urgency is all about. Urgent leaders act with speed when the conditions are ripe. In the meantime, they plan and prepare for the moment when the ideal situation presents itself.
Leaders who miss the window of opportunity by acting too soon or too late are neither patient nor urgent. They are simply ineffective. As one writer points out, “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” But without patience tied to that urgency, aspiration loses its potential. As we have learned so often elsewhere, timing is everything. When hard work finally catches up with timing, urgency makes the day.