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The Newsletter | Edition 050
In our Off-White Papers, we provide practical guidance on how to respond to our rapidly-changing world. This newsletter explores those topics in real-time, with information and action steps on how to make progress now.

For companies, timing is everything. Or is it? In truth, there are certainly moments in which timing means a lot, especially when it comes to establishing long and short term goals or visions, from project work to recruitment to core company missions and values. But is creating structured timelines always a good thing? Or is it more important for leaders to be flexible in their current contexts and moments?
  1. The allure of your own pace, from Jillian Rosen-Filz
  2. Why “too late” is arbitrary, from Harmand Ponder
And this time, our illustrations from Lucas Albrecht.
Remember to check out our latest Off-White Paper written in collaboration with our friends at Kindred. In it, we explore the process of defining company purpose, identifying and serving all of your constituencies, and most importantly, how to encode this purpose into your organization by managing stakeholders, identifying the right time horizon, incentivizing employees, and building feedback loops. Or if you're short on time, we also cover this off (among other critical topics) in this week's episode of Critical Nonsense.


From Jillian Rosen-Filz


Companies are often celebrated for their ability to be agile, be nimble, sprint, "innovate or die,” [insert your choice of speedy business process here]. It’s because our obsession with "startup culture," which fetishizes quickness, has completely dominated the business world for the past decade or so. But, as this article by our CEO, Alain Sylvain, argues: isn’t there more value in moving slowly and with precision?


Companies have a real and lasting impact on our culture and society. Period. So every move we make matters. When Mark Zuckerberg said in 2010 that “privacy was no longer a social norm,” well, we all know how that ended up for him.

So instead of “moving fast and breaking things,” like Zuckerberg, it’s important for leaders to slow down. To have flexibility, emotional intelligence, long-term vision, and most importantly, to take the time to appreciate the context. The pressure to sprint towards an unnecessary deadline, whether internal or client-focused, not only perpetuates a stressful environment in which employees are pushing simply for the sake of it—it also limits our thinking, and can actually lead to worse decision-making. As Richard Boyatzis, a professor at Case Western Reserve University puts it, “The very moments when organizations want people to think outside the box, they can’t even see the box.”


Before a new pursuit, take a pause to check in on the wellbeing of your team first.


Before embarking on your next ambitious project or goal, consider the above, rather than just focusing on business rationale alone. While there will certainly be moments in your not-so-distant future that setting timelines (and meeting deadlines) is necessary, it’s important to distinguish when urgency is needed, and when it isn’t. To make this distinction, ask yourself if what you're after is worth getting tunnel vision over. Will the culture and vibe it creates throughout your teams be worth it?

And even if the answer is yes (and it can be), maybe, just maybe, you can push back. You can create the space for a slower process; one that prioritizes craft, breadth, nuance, and openness, instead of singular, goal-only-oriented thinking.


From Harmand Ponder


Time is defined differently depending on where you are in the world (or universe). To some, “time is money” and to others, it’s an illusion. The reality is that although time is omnipotent, it can also be arbitrary.


Many physicians argue that time is not fundamentally real. Theoretically true or not, mortality is real. So our obsession with time is fitting, but the way we measure it is unique. We rely on smartphones, watches, calendars, and space clocks to make schedules, set goals, and keep track. And often, we’re disappointed when we don’t make those things happen by our set deadlines.

But what does it really mean to be punctual? NASA relied on satellite communication to calculate time within space but DSAC uses an atom based system of its own to measure it. In every interview with a "successful entrepreneur," you hear the same story about failed ideas before the one that took off. When is it “too late” to accomplish a goal, to create a new system, or learn a new skill?


Know that you're always on time when you're clearly communicating with those around you, and yourself.


  • Create your own timing system, like DSAC.
  • Be realistic and respectful. You can have your own timeline and still abide by others.
  • Understand that everyone has their own internal clocks and communication is the connecting tissue.

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