Whether you are making an important, albeit life-changing, personal decision or a high-stakes business decision, it is important to know not only what to do but, sometimes, more important when to do it. Timing!
A farmer from Bukidnon, Christine Walden, follows the movement of the moon as a guide in planting, transplanting and harvesting her crops. It works very well, according to her.
In some Asian culture, the use of feng shui, tarot cards, the moon and others to determine the proper time to undertake important things–wedding, house construction, business opening and many others–is practiced.
How do you know when is the right time?
Timing is essential in launching a new product. Doing it too early or too late could have disappointing, even disastrous, results. “It is not yet time for that.” “Too advanced for the time.”
When somebody dies we say, “Oras na nya [It’s her/his time].”
When one proposes to marry somebody, one could get an answer like, “Binigla mo naman ako. Hindi pa ako handa [You surprise me. I am not ready yet].”
When one sings out of tune, or out of sync, we say, “Wala sa tiyempo.”
To a visitor who comes right when you are about to take your lunch, you say, “Ang galing mo namang tumiyempo [Your timing is very good].”
We measure our life in terms of time–date and year–and so we make a timeline to chronicle the important events in our life. A year is 365 days. A day is 24 hours. An hour is 60 minutes. A minute is 60 seconds.
We measure speed and distance in terms of time: “If you drive 100 kilometers per hour, you’ll get there on time.”
Author Stuart Albert wrote in his book, When: The Art of Perfect Timing, “Conventional wisdom suggests that any attempt to understand timing is futile. No one, it is said, can time the market or credibly predict the future. The world is too complex. There are too many unknowns. Every situation is different in some important way that makes past experience an imperfect guide. Moreover, sometimes getting the timing right is just a matter of luck, being in the right place at the right time with the right product or service.
There is an element of truth in all of these observations. But the view that we cannot acquire skills in matters of timing is not only overly pessimistic; it is simply not true. With the right tools, we can be far better at managing and deciding issues of timing that conventional wisdom suggests.
“The topic of timing seemed boundless. It had no center, no obvious beginning or end. It was also complex, because sometimes timing doesn’t matter. Some things will succeed or fail regardless of when we act. In the course of writing my notes for this book, I discovered that timing errors weren’t random and that, because they weren’t random, at least some of them could be prevented. As I got deeper into the subject I discovered processes and phenomena that I hadn’t seen before.
“Later, as I sat down to write what I discovered, I found myself facing the great irony of our time: No time. Busy people rarely have the time to read a book of any length or complexity, so I’ve condensed, cut shortened. If you start this book as you board a transatlantic flight [Like I did from Ontario, Canada, to Manila last June], you will have a good idea of what a timing analysis consists of by the time you land. And if your flight is delayed [fortunately, not] then you will have ample time to finish it. What better way to kill time than to read a book on timing?
“Time is intangible. We cannot see, hear, smell, touch or taste it. We may measure it, but we are not certain at all–at least not yet–what time itself consists of. Time is hidden and mysterious, and therefore easy to overlook.
“Over time, the substantive issues that business leaders will face will change. The map of the world will be altered; companies, business models, nation-states will come and go. The need to make the right decisions at the right time will remain. We will always face the question of timing: Is it too early for a particular action, or is it already too late? How should I proceed, quickly or slowly, and what risks will I encounter along the way? Skills in matters of timing can be acquired and can become a continuing source of knowledge and competitive advantage.
“So is it now time to close the book, turn off the screen, and begin the work that needs to be done. Because, as Hillel said, if not now, WHEN?”
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