If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together
– African proverb
A business colleague sent me this quote today … and it struck a chord. Last week I was exploring coaching skills with a group of professionals, most of whom didn’t have any staff formally reporting to them. One of our many conversations centered on how it was a lot easier to get things done by yourself. After all, involving someone else usually means that you have to invest time in explaining things, even if they have the necessary skills and knowledge. And if they don’t have the relevant background, then it takes even greater time and resources to train them. “Far simpler and less complicated to just do it myself,” several of them said. But of course the problem with this point of view is that it is short-term thinking. Yes, it is faster to go it alone, but what happens when situations arise in the future where you have other more pressing priorities? If you haven’t invested energy in building others’ knowledge and expertise, then you’re on your own! Long-term sustainability depends on building relationships and fostering teamwork, on developing capabilities in others so that you can count on support when you need it.
What do you think? Is it better to go fast, or is it better to go farther? I would love to hear your perspective.