Words & Sports

Patience: Let the Play Develop

In football, they often remind the quarterback to “let the play develop,” meaning to have patience, to not try to force things prematurely.

Consider this example:

You’re the quarterback. The play called is two simple out patterns; you drop back to pass, while each wide receiver on the outside runs about ten yards and cuts hard to the sideline they are closest too. Sounds straightforward? But it’s late in the fourth quarter, third down and six, and you are trailing by three points, so this play must work. And the longer you wait to throw the ball, the more likely you are to get sacked. Your adrenalin is high, the fans are screaming at you to go ahead and throw….

But if you throw prematurely, the whole play will pointless because no one will be there to catch it yet.

Now let’s look at patience from a business perspective.

You are working on an important sale. Make this work, and your company will become the top provider of IT support for a big financial planning firm. You need it, your company needs it. You’re anxious. But your prospective client is in the middle of their busy season right now. They are focused on their clients. They know the IT is a necessity, but they don’t have the time to negotiate the deal. You know this, but you’re getting a lot of internal pressure to get this done. Payroll is due in a couple weeks. This is real. Do you go for the big win now? Do you forget patience?

If you keep your head, you can let the play develop. Set the deal up and get a date on your calendar—when your prospective client is not going to be busy—so that you can finalize the negotiations. Do your homework and get ready. Now take a deep breath and go do something else. There are other wins you can get while you wait.

The big deals don’t happen overnight, no matter how much everyone around you wants them to. If you rush it, the deal probably won’t happen at all. Sure, you’ve got people screaming at you to throw the ball too early, but you’re the leader. It’s your job to block out all the noise, do what you have to do, and let the play develop.

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Image of the Navy quarterback Jarod Bryant eluding Notre Dame defensive end Pat Kuntz was taken by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tommy Gilligan under Public Domain