Timing is Everything

by Mike Myatt

Timing is EverythingOpportunity and timing are inexorably linked. So much so, that if you don’t think timing is everything – think again. Anyone paying attention to current events has recently witnessed that it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a politician, investment banker, CEO, or just an average citizen, when it comes to making a simple decision, managing a crisis, or attempting to exploit an opportunity, timing is everything. I’ve often heard people quip that they would rather be lucky than smart. While intelligence and good fortune are certainly both valuable traits to possess, neither of these traits holds a candle to having a great sense of timing…Luck is a hit or miss proposition, and we’ve all known many a brilliant underachiever. However it has been my observation that you will rarely come across someone who possesses a great sense of timing that is anything other than successful. In today’s post I’ll take a look at timing as key success metric…

As the verse from the old Kenny Rogers song goes “you have to know when to hold em and know when to fold em.” The reality is that great leaders all seem to possess an innate sense of timing such that most executives have a very clear understanding of the critical role timing plays as a survival skill at the C-suite level. There are a few times in the life of every professional where staggering opportunities will present themselves. The question is not whether these opportunities exist, but rather what will you do with them when they cross your path. I believe one of the key differences between success and mediocrity is the ability to not only recognize opportunities, but also having an understanding and willingness to exploit said opportunities. Exploiting opportunities requires not only vision, but also a corresponding bias to action and a bit of courage as well.

Rarely will you come across a static opportunity in the sense that it will stand idle and wait for you to act…Significant opportunities are not only scarce, but they typically operate on the principal of diminishing returns. The longer you wait to seize the opportunity the smaller the return typically is. In fact, more likely is the case that the opportunity will completely evaporate if you wait too long to seize it. Keep this thought in mind; when opportunity knocks…answer the door.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I watched people miss great opportunities due to a poor sense of timing. Not too surprisingly, people who possess a poor sense of timing usually don’t even understand timing is an issue. How many times have you witnessed someone holding-out for a higher price, better valuation, evolving markets, technology advances, or any number of other circumstances that either never transpire, or by the time they do, the opportunistic advantage had disappeared? I’ve observed the risk adverse take due diligence one step too far, the greedy negotiate too long, the impulsive jump the gun, and the plodders move to slow. As the saying goes “timing is everything.”

The proverbial window closes on every opportunity at some point in time. As you approach each day I would challenge you to consistently evaluate the landscape and seize the opportunities that come your way. Better to be the one who catches the fish than the one who tells the story of the big one who got away…

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Mike MyattMike Myatt, is a Top CEO Coach, author of “Leadership Matters…The CEO Survival Manual“, and Managing Director of N2Growth.

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