In the Army we used to have a saying slow is smooth and smooth is fast. When you first hear it, it really doesn’t make much sense. I mean how can something be both slow and fast?
Turns out, it’s true.
Think about the last time you rushed to finish something. Did you finish thinking to yourself that you did the best job possible? No? Why not?
Because you rushed. You didn’t take your time to do the job the right way. You might have cut corners, or completely forgotten to do something that was important.
At the time you had two goals. First was to finish the job, and the second was to get it done quickly.
So you rushed. You put the second goal ahead of the first, and you may not have actually achieved the first goal. This is especially true if you need to go back and fix a mistake you made.
Take all the time it to you to do the job the first time. Add that to all the time between finishing the first time and realizing you didn’t actually finish. Then add the time it took to re-do the work, and repeat for each re-do. It will likely be way more time spent than if you just did the job right in the first place.
Rushing doesn’t get you anywhere.
Don’t believe me? Go ask the hare.
That saying is a way to drive home the point that you don’t always have to rush to get things done quickly. Actually working quickly is not always the best option.
In the Army for example we had to do a lot of marksmanship training so target shooting and things like that. And if we got to the shooting range and we just started pulling the trigger, not aiming or anything like that, we’d only hit our targets really if we were lucky. We’d get shots off a heck of a lot faster that way as opposed to say you know taking your time to aim, controlling your breathing, having a controlled trigger squeeze and things like that.
But what’s really the goal in that type of training? Is it putting as many bullets down range as possible or is it hitting the target?
You know I could spend all day and go through thousands of rounds of ammunition and not hit a thing if I didn’t aim properly. And use the basic fundamentals for shooting. Or I could spend 10 minutes aiming properly, doing what I needed to do, and hit every target and be done with it. Get the whole training over with.
The same thing goes for business. I mean and really in life in general. Whenever we try to rush through things we end up messing something up. We have to go back and do it over again. Right?
So for example let’s say you’re writing a proposal for a new client but it’s late in the day, it’s on a Friday and you really just want to check out. You don’t really want to sit there writing a proposal. It’s boring or whatever. So you grab an old proposal from another client that had a similar project or whatever and you do a quick find and replace on the client name and then you send it off. Took you maybe, I don’t know, five minutes to do. But the end result was garbage because you forgot that super important thing that this new client wanted that the old client didn’t want and you didn’t add it to the proposal. Completely forgot to do it because you rushed through.
So now you have to go back and redo it. This time you quickly add in that super important stuff but you forgot to update the price quote. Again you left yourself with garbage. You know it’s not a good proposal to be sending over to this client and so you’re going to have to do it again and again and again til you get it right.
So when you add up all the time it took to do this thing wrong, writing this proposal or whatever it is that you’re doing, plus all the time it took to do it the right way, you’re going to end up with a lot more time than it would’ve taken if you just did it right in the first place.
Because slow is smooth and smooth is fast.