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If you want to go faster, move slower

“If you want to go faster, move slower.”

That was the bit of wisdom that the sheep shearer shared over and over again.  The two men dispensing this wisdom were hosting a sheep shearing exhibition at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival a few weekends ago near our home town.

“If you want to go faster, move slower.”

The words sounded so foreign and counter-intuitive.  They men were masters at their trade.  With thousands upon thousands of sheep over many decades, the wisdom held true.  They shared that day that when a person starts shearing sheep, they want to move fast.  When you are getting paid by sheep, not by hour, you are motivated to get as many done in the shortest amount of time as possible.

As the newbie moves fast, they make mistakes.  They must then make another cut to make up for the mistaken cut, this creates second cuts in the fleece, undesired by the wool producer, unusable for it’s final product in spinning the wool into yarn.  Moving with haste, also increases the chance of drawing blood on the sheep- a small cut can lead to big infection within the sheep- and can even cause death.  A swift, uncontrolled movement could also injure the shearer himself.  The shearing blades are sharp and fast- the restless animal beneath them only needs so much room to get a leg down and regain control.  So the wisdom that is passed on the the new shearer?

“If you want to go faster, move slower.”

Take your time.  Make the right cut.  Guard the sheep and guard yourself.  Maintain the discipline of the moving slow and methodically.  In the long run, it is better for the animal and it is better for your wallet. Learning to move slower, will allow you over time to shear more animals in a day because you are moving with higher efficiency and effectiveness.

“If you want to go faster, move slower.”

It is worth my time to move slower.  I find in my life, when I eliminate the haste and the rush, that the work I do is better.  As a leader, when others see us simply moving fast, sporadically and at a break neck pace – they follow our pattern.

We need to model the reality of moving slower to get faster at our work.  We need to model taking our time, making the right cuts, and maintaining the discipline of moving slow and methodically so that over time we can do more and better work.

“If you want to go faster, move slower.”

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