Sunday, April 26, 2009

Make Time or Make Action.

I read Seth Godin's blog post today about "I need more time," and remembered something I read recently about a team that took 20 minutes and made an important decision because "that's all the time we had."  So Seth's blog post resonated.  In fact, I remember reading, many years ago, an article by Reva Korda (who later became Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather) that put forth the proposition that creative people couldn't work without deadlines (I know, in any event, that I can't).  We need them for focus, for a sense of urgency, and to stop the creative process and "let go."

I haven't actually found anything in the scholarly literature about the impact of time on decision-making (still looking), but anecdotally most of the people I know believe that few of  their important decisions (barring, perhaps, marriage) would have been affected greatly with substantially more time to think about them.

Innovation is driven by time constraints: if you need to come up with something, you generally do.  The stories (successful stories, anyway) become legend: Apollo 13, Lockheed's Skunk Works, and many equally-impressive others tell of  deadline-driven innovation.  And while there are certainly cases of things being done too quickly (certain operating systems and cellular phone models come to mind) the push of a deadline might just be the push that leads to a more innovative solution.

So get in the habit: take the time you need, but don't waste a second more.  There are other things to be done.

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