He then explains the point of buying time or stealing time. He points that the old mantra used to be ready, aim, fire whereas now it has become fire, aim, and ready. The world is advancing very rapidly and is becoming more and more complicated.
This forces us to make decisions faster. So, we should take time to make right decisions. For example, Joseph Murrey had a slogan in his company saying that if the operation is difficult then you are not doing it right. Thus, steps and results should be analyzed thoroughly when making a decision.The professor quotes that ‘a man who has no position in society cannot even have a dog bark at him’. This leads to his next point which was political capital. Quiet leaders think about messy situations like venture capitalists, as they are concerned about their track record and reputation. These people took small steps and nudged a bit.
If things seemed promising they moved ahead and invested but if not then they shifted ways. These people are willing to take risks and are imaginative. Also, they realize the feasibility of an action. This proves beneficial in unpredictable environments.The professor gives an example of a teacher who asks his students to examine an ordinary fish in a tray daily for roughly two weeks. The reason he did this was he wanted his students to look at the fish with more focus and more critically. Thus, making it clear that it is essential to look at any situation more critically, technically, and financially. He gives the example of Darwin Smith and other CEOs of great companies who were new to their organizations but they knew the industry inside out and so were able to turn around companies successfully.
In the end, the professor talks about creating compromises. One might say that politicians do that but even leaders need to do the same. Quiet leaders rethink and reconfigure problems and make it increasing sum instead of zero sum. Hence, compromises should be viewed as a high form of leadership and creativity.
For instance, Lincoln had to recast the win-lose situation during his presidential campaign by opposing slavery in the North West Territory tactfully, as otherwise he had no chance of winning. Therefore in any situation, a broader view is much needed.People who work quietly do not ask much for themselves, yet contribute substantially to the corporation. A little more effort and care is required to be given to them. They should be seen, learnt from, and even rewarded.
The professor tells of a quiet leader who said that they try to leave their traces on the beach. Eventually, the waves will wash them away but they continue to work and contribute, as they care about small things. Finally, the style of the professor was quite warm. His examples were informative and helped in making his points clear. Also, his expression and use of language was very understandable.