Vannoy and Ross
I’m in Aberdeen, Scotland. (For work, I assure you.) After jumping into a cab, I quickly remembered that I am a foreigner: Even though I speak English, this Scottish accent is tough to decode. (Though they have informed me it is I with the accent.)
But the cabbie is happy to see me, and eager to share his love of the city that has been his home for 56 years. After peppering him with questions – how old is this city? where’s the best pub to watch the World Cup tonight? does Mel Gibson really look like William Wallace? – he smiles and tells me the fare. I have no idea if he’s telling me the truth; I also have no concept of what I’m supposed to add for a tip. I’m at his mercy.
Feeling rather stupid, I offer, “Thanks for all your help. It’s appreciated.”
He grins. (And plug in your favorite, rich Scottish accent on what he says next.) “No problem at all. We’re all looking for the same thing, see?” He laughs, and adds, “We’re all just trying to figure it out.”
Call it a moment of Zen or whatever. I smile at him, acknowledging that indeed he has figured it out.
And I wonder: In our rush-rush-and-you’re-still-behind world, what would happen if we had the patience of a Scottish cabbie? Sure, you could argue that Aberdeen is not London or New York, and that such patience would melt away under pressure. But I’m not so sure. And more importantly, what would happen if it didn’t?
Who’s in your cab today? Who’s asking stupid questions, floundering in confusion? Who’s seems to be a foreigner (read: metaphor) on your team? Yes, business is about delivering results – faster than your competition. Still, is there a place in all of that for patience? Is there a line between needing now…and developing for then?
Those of you who are building something great – results and a business that will endure – know the answer to that question.