Time is indeed relative. Speed is relative too.
I’ve noticed that people are busier and busier and yet things are moving slower than ever.
You can’t get through a day without hearing something about the fast pace of life yet it seems to take forever to get simple things done. Relativity. Speed of movement is relative to the observer. If you’re sitting by the roadside and a car zips by at 70 MPH it looks FAST. If you’re in a car going down the road at 80 MPH and have to pass a car going 70 MPH it looks to you as though they are going slow!
We’re all going at different speeds depending on personality and task at hand.
Think about this. If you were enclosed in a box moving down the highway and all you knew was how long it took to pass a car, would you know how fast you or the other car was going? If you were both going 70 MPH, it would appear that neither of you were moving! (Don’t believe me? The ground you’re standing on is moving at about 700 MPH—and so is everything around you.)
So what?!
First, when working with others remember the speed they appear to be moving is relative. If you are working against a deadlineline, those around you may seem to be moving slowly. They may be going faster than they appear to be (to you).
Second, consider the reverse. Business is good and you need more space. Your shop foreman is asking for more people. The salesman wants to expand the line. Accounting needs a new software system. You may feel that things are moving way too fast. That could be because you are moving much slower than everything around you.
It’s natural. In fact, it’s a law of physics. Don’t fight it.
People working on a deadline feel things going fast. People waiting for a decision feel things going slow. The perceived difference in speed is the source of a lot of tension between people.
There’s a fix. Start by realizing that there is a difference in perception. Next, measure things. If it takes Joe three days to get a quote out, he IS moving slow. If it takes Sally three days to get a total of employee sick days used in 1998, she may be moving very fast. If it takes you three days to answer an email…
If everyone took a moment to think about their own speed it would help them sync up with those around them. There’s your answer. If we synchronize our speeds—if only momentarily—we can connect.
Shameless Promotion: This stuff takes work. It takes an outside person to assist with setting up “speed zones”. If you let me work with you on this, I can guarantee positive results.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog