March 17, 2016

Clock speed

Big Ben

Let’s assume a typical academic has a sharp brain up top. They hold many thoughts and get insights in the shower. As for them, so for the rest of us. The difference isn’t in the potential for ideas, it’s in the demand for delivery. An academic clock-speed is determined by research project duration: a term, a year, a funding cycle. The rest of us: end of the week?

Now, that’s unfair – but it’s a blunt stick pointing to what can happen when two organisations or people with different clock speeds try to work together. One’s hanging around, the other chronically hurried. One deeply frustrated, the other spittingly irritated.

The sprinter and the marathoner don’t play naturally together.

You can’t always choose your partners – but you can use gears to synchronise the effort and balance the stress.

Skippy strategy: Keep talking, keep progress visible. Focus attention on the finish line – not the second hand.