Take your time

It’s a crazy time of the year – hot, wet today, busy, traffic is mad. And all the time our planet is hurtling through space at 1m km/h (that’s the relative speed of earth around the sun and our galaxy through our universe I think but I digress!). It’s been a busy couple of weeks. After 12 years of waiting, my son Tim had a replacement cornea graft which is promising for his vision. I was surprised how emotional I felt when he went into surgery. It’s been a long time, or felt it, waiting for his eyes to be in good health for the procedure. Before and after the surgery I’ve been helping lead teams develop their charters and learn about themselves. Which takes time.

The charter is usually just the beginning, but it’s a really important beginning, setting the rules of engagement and developing a vision of what the team would like the future to look like. One exercise that was supposed to take 15 minutes yesterday with one group took an hour and a half. You might ask if that mattered? Well yes it did. It mattered a lot that the team went where it needed to, taking the time. At the end of the session, they said that this first part was the most valuable.

Management requires action. Leadership needs patience. We need both but the best actions are those that follow a patient time of leadership. Professor Charles McGhee, Tim’s masterful surgeon who espouses opportunity and optimism on each encounter knows about patience. He knew not to rush in. But when it was time, he showed the best action you could hope for.  Two hours of careful surgery and Tim’s new cornea was in situ. And all around was a medical team who worked as one, including a theatre nurse who was there for Tim in 1995.

Vision for vision.