Creativity Ideas

It pays to wait, but the urge to share ideas is hard to resist


By Dom Burch, managing director

January 25, 2016 | 4 min read

"So what do you do these days?"

It's a question that plagues society, and is likely to get worse not better.

It's odd how our entire reason d'être as a human being boils down in an instant to our chosen occupation.

Problem is that a generation or two ago it made some sense.

Jobs were for life, therefore your chosen occupation would have defined you far more than it does today.

I once joked when I was head of social at Asda that I got paid to walk around the place talking to people. That, and organise the Christmas party.

Yet there was more truth in my words of jest than most appreciated.

Asda House is bursting at the seams. Thousands of people crammed in to its open plan office space. Meeting rooms booked up weeks in advance.

Cafe areas and connecting corridors and landings are full to the brim of colleagues in one-to-ones or team meetings.

The result of being space-constrained however is one of serendipitous coming togethers.

Apparently Steve Jobs while at Pixar designed the cafeteria in such a way as to encourage such serendipity.

Tables were long with benches not chairs. Queues were also deliberately long, forcing people to chat in the line to one another as they waited to be served.

Dots were connected, chance conversations had. Problems shared, and no doubt halved in an instant.

In recent weeks I've spent even more of my working day away from my desk. Not that I have a desk, but away from my department.

I've worked from my phone, shelving the laptop for the most part, and deliberately working out loud, where I can easily be interrupted. I've reconnected with my network in a very open and visible way.

I've legitimised in my head the value of investing a considerable amount of my time simply talking to people. Often without a clear agenda.

But I've also had to learn the art of patience.

Being a creative type, when I put two thoughts together for the first time it often sparks an idea. Problem is my first instinct is to share it immediately.

Yet deep down I know I should allow more time for the idea to be nurtured and incubated.

This weekend it happened again. In my eagerness to impress, I shared a thought far too soon. It seemed like an open goal, but I fired needlessly wide.

I knew I should have waited, I even tweeted to try and release the valve.

And while I resisted the urge (at first) I stumbled across a blog that brilliantly describes patience as 'the art of intelligent waiting'.

"Life unfolds in spite of our impatience. The misfortune of it is that because of our impatience we don’t fully appreciate the joy and beauty of watching it unfold."

In spite of reading

I'm having to learn the art of patience. I'm sat on a great idea. I've shared it with a few ppl. Now waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Frustrating.

— Dom Burch (@domburch) January 23, 2016 ">these wise words I still stupidly couldn't resist.

Perhaps next time I'm asked what I do I should reply, I am an impatient idiot.

But the truth is increasingly I see it as my job to connect the dots. I do this by walking around and talking to people.

I just need to learn the art of intelligent waiting, only then will I realise my true value.

Follow Dom on Twitter @domburch

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