Once well-known brand, Paul Masson wine, is best remembered for its 1970s marketing association with Orson Wells, who promised for Masson: “We will sell no wine before its time.” In this ad, Wells is discovered by the camera listening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, “It took Beethoven four years to write that symphony” Wells says, “Some things can’t be rushed. Good music… and good wine”.

According to one of the members of my Vistage CEO group, the same applies to goals. He says, “it’s the goal that matters, not the timeline. If you don’t achieve your goal in the time frame you set, and it’s something important to you, then change the timeline, not the goal”.

Not unlike my blog,  Let It Rest a couple of weeks ago, the message here is, let things unfold at their own pace. It’s hard sometimes to know when to activate, and when to simply pause and wait. Sometimes we want something so badly that we work and work to achieve our goal. What I have learned from observing successful leaders is they recognize what is in their control and what is not. And, they proceed accordingly; sometimes simply waiting for the right time to reengage, and reactivate.

Steve Jobs is famous for delaying the production of, and ultimately the release of products, until he was satisfied that the design met his goal. While he is perceived as an innovator, Apple was never the first mover. The first IPhone-like device was called the Treo. It did a lot of what the first IPhone did, but not well. Steve and his team took their time developing a better product. Steve is reputed to have sent his product development team back to the drawing board, time after time, to get the design exactly as he wanted it, i.e. just one button.

So, when setting your goals for your next product launch, next division, next business opportunity, remember Beethoven and Jobs. And, achieve no goal before it is time, better an IPhone than a Treo.


Why Vistage Works

Elisa K. Spain

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