"You may delay, but time will not."--Benjamin Franklin

Timing is a delicate issue--whether you're talking about love, business investments, or the day-to-day little things, like how to avoid the rush at Starbucks. As a business owner, you are called to be your organization's timekeeper, to look at the bigger picture and set the pace for your team.

You have to find your own timing, of course, but here's how I set my CEO stopwatch:

When to Take It Slow:

  1. Strategic planning: Only after you've figured out, s-l-o-w-l-y and carefully, what you want to do, can you shift into high gear.
  2. Be slow to criticize (and quick to appreciate).
  3. Be slow to make judgments, especially when one person calls out another. Get all the information before coming to a conclusion.
  4. Be slow to move something to the top of your list. There's folly in allowing everything to become a priority--even when all the projects make sense.
  5. Be slow to hire. Our interviewees go through no less than five rounds of intensive interviews with multiple leaders and teammates. Do not hire simply because the post is vacant.
  6. Off slow but steady training: Don't be slow to start but focus on the "continuing" in continuing education. Training should be a part of everyone's job--for the duration of their employment--including yours, too. But load on too much at once and it's lost.

When to Speed It Up

  1. Be quick to dismiss nonperformers and those who are detractors. Don't let them drag others down.
  2. Be quick to cut projects when they're not on the roadmap (this bears repeating).
  3. Be quick to offer specific feedback.
  4. Be quick to correct your course.
  5. Be quick to admit your own mistakes.
  6. Be quick to promote from within: Empower your employees with the understanding that their hard work, drive, and interests will take them places within your organization. Give them a path with honest feedback and opportunities.
  7. Be quick to try: At Blinds.com, we follow the Silicon Valley mindset of "fail often and fail fast." Instead of wringing your hands and calling multiple meetings on an advertising, marketing, or internal-process change, take it one piece at a time and view each piece as a test. Doesn't work? Move on to the next. Worked great? Try to make it better and move on. Hire people who share that mentality.