Several months back I posted a question on twitter, “Does slow and steady really win the race?” I simply posted this question because true to my fashion, I had waited to complete a project and was up late the night before, putting in my best work. Now of course, when I say my best work, my best caffeinated, bleary-eyed, 1:00 AM adrenaline laced work.
The situation I had created for myself really did get me thinking, does slow and steady really win the race? I know for myself, some of my truly best pieces of work have been accomplished when I’ve had the pressure put on me, and usually sliding in just at the last second. Not when I have methodically spent scheduled hours prepping and preparing the work or meeting the goal in a timely manner, turning the project in early. Does any of this resonate with you?
While I’m not condoning procrastination, I have really stopped to question our thought process in thinking that slow and steady wins the race. Of course there are times when it does, like with retirement planning. With the law of compounding interest, of course the longer you save, the more you’re going to come out with, and the earlier you start saving the earlier you can retire.
But how about when it comes to career advancement? Does this ring true in your organization? Do the oldest hold all the top positions, because they have been there the longest and deserve the promotion. I can tell you that that doesn’t hold true in most organizations. While it used to be the case that employees stuck with an employer their whole lives and eventually received the corner office after 30 years of service and a gold watch upon retirement that just doesn’t hold true anymore. More and more companies are hiring the next big rising star and the person with the most energy is getting the corner office, while the person with the longest amount of years is just another employee ID number when it comes time for payroll.
So, I ask myself again, does slow and steady always win the race, well at least not in today’s corporate America. To get ahead one has to be the hare sometimes and get out in front of the crowd. Maybe not by rushing our work along, but by working harder to get more done, to be accomplished in a shorter period of time, and be recognized for those accomplishments; rather than just taking it slow and easy and just letting it all come to you, step by step, rung by rung, up the ladder.