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The Law of Timing

John Maxwell states that "only the right action at the right time will bring success."

Last evening I had the opportunity to observe this in action. My wife and I took my mom to see Yo Yo Ma on cello perform alongside Kathryn Stott on piano. They were the only two people on stage, save the woman who was turning the music pages for Kathryn. This woman was never announced, I don't know her name, she received no glory, yet her role was indispensable to the success of the wonderful event. As I observed her, I was reminded of the statement that says "time is nothing, timing is everything."

It's been said that the definition of a nightmare is having a good dream with a bad team. If the team isn't able to tap into the law of timing and do the right thing at the right time, failure is inevitable. As I watched the performance last night, several things regarding timing on a team occurred to me.

  1. Vision- The team must understand what the leader sees. If I were to have observed the musical score I would only have seen dots, lines, and some funny symbols with which I have only vague familiarity. The woman turning the pages for Ms. Stott had to see exactly the same thing Ms. Stott saw, in order to keep up and to be able to do the right thing at the right time.

  2. Context- Vision creates the possibility to understand where the team is in context to the vision. In the performance, the woman turning pages had to not only understand what Ms. Stott saw, but to know where she was in context of the overall performance in order to turn the page at the right time. If a team doesn't understand where they are in the context of the big picture, they will never know what next step to take. This is why it has been said that every team needs a CRO, a Chief Reminding Officer, to help them remember the big picture and understand where they are at any given time, so the next steps toward success can become clear.

  3. Servant spirit- To do the right thing at the right time, the woman turning pages for Ms. Stott had to be more aligned with the success of the whole, than with her own personal glory and recognition. Once a friend of mine asked a man who is second in position in a large organization what it is like to be #1 at being #2.

He wisely responded, "I just stay focused on adding all the value I can to everyone for whom I am responsible." I've heard it said that "there is no end to the good one can do, if you don't care who gets the credit!".

Once the members of a team understand what the leader is seeing, where the team is in relation to the big picture, and adopts the goal of adding value to everyone they can, success is inevitable in any valid endeavor.



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