When what you want cannot be gotten instantly

By William Seidman We live in a world of instant gratification. Twitter is a great example of this: 140 characters being fed constantly. There’s an expectation that almost anything (and anyone) we need can be found on the web instantly. But what about the things that really do take time? Imagine that I want to be an Olympic swimmer. I google “Olympic swimmer” and read a lot of articles on how to become an Olympic swimmer. Am I ready to compete in the Olympics? Obviously not, and it is almost silly to think that way. I have to have natural talent and must then put in a lot of work to get good enough to qualify – if I’m also lucky. But if people are trying to learn a new business practice, daily pressures drive them to assume that they can learn it instantly, without study and without practicing.  So often, we work with people who go to a training class or look something up in a knowledge management database and think they have got it, or at least are unwilling to allocate more time to learn it. There is such a strong expectation for instant everything — people expect problems to be fixed or improved instantly, without much work. But there are some things, like sophisticated business processes and business leadership, that can’t be learned instantly. Long term practice and development is needed. There is this profound gap between an expectation for instant gratification and some areas where the capability cannot be developed instantaneously.]]>

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