#85 - Slow Down
Too hard, insecure, and simple
Such a cliche,
But I’m sure it’s true,
Just slow down,
You’ll go faster if you do.
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Pre Unplugged I spent a year running Growth for a tech startup.
I was rubbish.
I’ve often ponder what I got wrong during that time.
The full list is too long to share here. But what stood out, above all, is how busy I was with the wrong things.
I reckon 95% of the work I did, and I was putting in the hours, was worthless.
95%! It didn’t move the needle at all.
Over a 40 hour week, say, that’s 2 productive hours, and 38 wasted. I may as well have rocked up for two hours on a Monday morning and then got out the way for the rest of the week.
Why so ineffective?
As a company, and as a Head of Growth, there were many things we/I was clueless about. I compensated for not having the answers by trying to get as much work done as possible.
The problem was the work in question. It was busy work. We were constantly behind on our targets and I compensated by being busy. Somewhere deep down a voice said to me It’s not your fault if you’re working hard.
That’s not true. It was my fault. Because I was working too hard.
There’s nothing wrong with hard work, it’s essential. But, generally, if it feels too hard then you’re getting it wrong.
I was trying too hard. Trying to go fast but ending up slow.
What I needed was to pause. To reassess. To question everything. I needed to slow down and figure out what was really going on. But I didn’t.
It’s wisdom thousands of years old:
Slow and steady wins the race.
Aesop wrote about his tortoise and hare 2,500 years ago.
We all know it but it’s hard to recognise in ourselves. When we’re up against the temptation is to push harder- to get busy.
What we don’t see is the damaged caused by rushing. Rushing blinds us. It increases complexity. The more frantic our actions the less we’re learning.
When our backs are against the wall it often feels like we’re out of time. But often it’s the perceived lack of time that takes up our time. There’s always time.
Good strategy is one thing done well. We think it’s coming up with some elaborate plan. It’s not. Charlie Munger, naturally, has some wisdom on the topic:
"Take a simple idea and take it seriously."
Simple. There’s your strategy 101. A simple idea. Taken seriously.
If you can do that, not only will your transform your fortunates, you might even enjoy it.
This piece touches on slow down to benefit a business. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. What really matters is slowing down to benefit yourself. That’s what makes everything possible.
But perhaps that’s a topic for another day.
My Week in Books📚
I’m in a cabin in the Peak District, somewhere around here, 9th to 14th June.
Digital Detoxing. So this post is scheduled.
I’ll update you with the books read next week.
A Final Thought 💡
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
― Lao Tzu