Tough objectives lead to strong results. Perseverance is what drives us to achieve those objectives.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. We all know that.
But in business, we are sometimes a bit too impatient when it comes to seeing results.
In our haste and rush to find the “quick wins”, we often choose the quickest, but not always the best, way.
What is the best way?
Of course it's always a balancing act between short, medium and long term. We sometimes sorely need those “quick wins” to continue to motivate our people (and ourselves), but they cannot be at the cost of the long term vision.
Some things simply require time, and doubling funds and resources will not cut the process time in half. An apt metaphor is: “If you want a baby, you can’t reduce the pregnancy to 4.5 months by getting two women pregnant.” It’s the same with improvement management. Some things need a little time and patience is not just a virtue – it’s an absolute must. But this is sometimes easier said than done.
Every now and then, everybody has a moment of weakness. Everyone sometimes wonders if they made the right decision. To doubt is human, but when waiting for results, we would do well to remember that nothing is impossible if we want it badly enough. If we are 100% committed, we can reach our goal – by persevering. According to Napoleon Hill, “focus, purpose and perseverance” truly determine the difference between success and failure. This also applies perfectly to improvement management and quality.
Napoleon Hill and Henry Ford
Napoleon Hill illustrates the power of perseverance in his book “Think and Grow Rich” with the following anecdote about Henry Ford:
Henry Ford wanted to develop a V8 engine where all 8 cylinders would be cast from one block. He gave his best engineers the task of designing such an engine. They told Ford it was impossible. Ford replied, “Do it anyway.” Six months passed, without result. They reported to Ford and maintained their position that it was an impossible assignment. He told them they had to continue working at it. Another six months passed and still, no results. Ford said: “I want it, so it will happen.” They returned to work in a last desperate effort and finally found the solution.
It was with this famous V8-engine that Ford finally earned a big part of his fortune...