I think building great teams is tough. If you’re in a sports related environment, it’s more obvious that you need to build teams of your five, nine, or eleven players (or some other number). And even in these environments where the value of building a team is so crucial, it’s still difficult. In a corporate environment where it’s not quite as obvious that building a great team is necessary, it’s even more difficult to put in the effort to create a great team.
But for anyone who has been part of a great corporate team, the value of making the effort is undeniable. Patience is a key element to team building. However patience is hard to define or understand and difficult to balance.
Patience: “The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
One of the images that I really enjoy is the two magnificent lions protecting the entrance to the New York Public Library. Their names are Patience and Fortitude.
Patience and fortitude. The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset and at the same time fortitude: courage, bravery, endurance, resilience.
Patience with self vs. Patience with others.
I’ve seen one Vice President get very upset with a 2nd Vice President when he did not think his colleague was dealing with what he considered to be an incompetent employee. What was interesting to me is that I was working with both VPs and I knew that each of them was dealing with a direct report that needed to be moved to a new position where they had a greater chance of success. Both VPs did successfully deal with the situation and both worked hard at accomplishing it in the most successful way possible. But while VP#1 seemed to exhibit great patience in dealing with his direct report (because he respected him and believed he deserved patience) he didn’t exhibit the same patience for the other employee or the VP who was proceeding down a similar path. How much control you have over the situation affects your level of patience.
Gumption and Patience
“Successful investing requires this crazy combination of gumption and patience, and then being ready to pounce when the opportunity presents itself, because in this world, opportunities just don’t last very long,” says Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway. “It’s waiting that helps you as an investor and a lot of people just can’t stand to wait. If you didn’t get the deferred gratification gene, you’ve got to work very hard to overcome that.”
Investors in People
Charlie Munger is an investor in companies. But, as you watch and read more and more about how he and his partner, Warren Buffet, decide on what companies to invest in, they’re really looking at the leaders of those companies who have built great teams.
Leaders are Investors in People.