Be Patient or Impatient?

Being impatient can help you build a business fast, but sometimes impatience can be bad for business. I believe patience is an important skill to have, and that the secret is knowing when to be patient and when to be impatient.

For example, Amazon was patient: “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient,” as said by Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. Other businesses failed due to their impatience, such as WebVan, a grocery delivery service that moved too fast. The company built up a significant overhead, used up all their funds and eventually collapsed.

Should a leader be patient?

Patience is also vital when you have team members, and being impatient can be bad for productivity and engagement. Constantly telling team members to work quickly creates stress and frustration, which damages productivity. Patience, however, enables team members to see the bigger picture and maintain a positive attitude. Being patient is important for team members as well as leaders, because it can help team members to think more effectively and keep on track.

Is there ever a reason to be impatient?

I believe impatience is good when being patient is just an excuse to not get something done. It is not about taking shortcuts; it is about taking a faster route. Instead of mulling over something several more times, be impatient – but make sure you are not skipping crucial steps.

Being impatient is also good when you find yourself stuck in your own head. For example, perhaps you are worried about whether an idea will work. Rather than sit around and wonder, I suggest you try out the idea because “clarity comes from action, not from thought” after all! It comes down to speed: the speed you make decisions and the speed of getting something done.

Move fast in the moment but in the long run, be patient. As a business leader it can be easy to feel impatient, and this is good because it pushes you to act fast in the moment. However, it is bad in the long run when you are too impatient to have faith in the process. Remember that micro-patience and micro-speed are key in business.