Many readers have asked me about my use of the expression ‘ Time maketh the man’ Well let me start off by giving a little background. I always thought this was a well known quotation but as part of my research I could find no real references so perhaps it was something personal to the person who said it to me.
In my mid twenties I was privileged to meet and subsequently work for a successful serial entrepreneur. My ten years working with this man were exciting, stressful and rewarding. With the power of hind sight I realise now he mentored me in the commercial realities of business although at the time I did not value the understanding he was passing on to me.
In our early working relationship I was very green but he had faith in me. He quickly offered me a senior role within his group that was way beyond my years and experience. When he offered me the role he could obviously see that I was stunned and it was at that moment he uttered those words
‘ Time maketh the man’
He was prepared to put his faith in me. He could see my potential and that time would prove his judgement sound and I would step up to the challenge. Of course, I wanted to repay this faith by stepping up and succeeding. From that moment on he was there to support me and continue to show his faith in my ability. Were there times I probably made him think he had got it wrong. Absolutely! Thinking back now on some incidents and decisions I made they still make the hair on the back my head stand up so heaven only knows what he went through!
Interestingly, he constantly stretched me to achieve more and more, often way beyond my experience. This was positive pressure rather than negative downward pressure. By ensuring I was just outside my comfort zone I leaned to grow and push the boundaries myself. I was given the room to grow but always felt supported and comfortable to seek advice but never abdicated a decision. I was happy for him to hold me accountable.
In business especially during family business succession I see the next generation restricted and given no room to grow. The ‘retiring generation’ constantly diving in to question work ethics, decisions and undermining new thinking. Negative pressure with words of wisdom based on experience without any real explanation.
The end result?
Demotivated individuals who learn to fudge decisions, avoid accountability and feign taking responsibility. Their growth becomes stunted and the future of the business is at risk. Just like a young sapling eager to grow but starved of sunlight, water and food.
So ensure the next generation have the ability and skills to take on the mantle , then apply positive pressure to stretch them Give Them Room and then watch them grow.
Be prepared to be astounded and be proud of the result. Give praise and don’t take the credit.
Allow ‘time to maketh the man’.