By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to leverage the time you invest in leading. Reading time: 4:14
Mahatma Gandhi, vowing a life of simplicity, often wore a loin cloth. And not much more.
Yet the famed civil rights leader in India always wore a watch — albeit a cheap $1 pocket watch on a string around his waist.
Gandhi, like the most effective leaders, knew that punctuality is the lubricant that meshes the gears of an idea. With punctuality comes a sense of urgency, a sense of expectancy, a sense of respect for the process of leadership to initiate NOW.
That’s why leaders pay homage to the march of time. They know only too well, no matter how mighty their power, how deep their pockets, how high they sit in the pecking order, they simply can’t manufacture an antique, print a masterpiece, or bottle a vintage wine. It takes time. Leaders embrace that inherent power of TIME. As the Great Magi asks in Voltaire’s book Zadig:
“What of all things in the world is longest and shortest,
the most divisible and the most extended,
the most neglected and the most regretted,
without which nothing can be done
which devours all that is little and enlivens all that is great?”
Zadig answers: “TIME”. Leaders No wonder leaders celebrate Time from the world’s first television commercial broadcast on July 1, 1941 (Bulova) to the 14-foot long second-hand on London’s Big Ben to Time’s Square in New York and from the 51 watches that Marie Antoinette received for her engagement to the three watches that inventor Buckminster Fuller always wore when he traveled: one set to current time, one set to his home office time and one set to his destination time.
Some leaders try to manipulate time like the quick thinking Army captain did in 1889 for the inauguration of President–elect Benjamin Harrison. He pushed back the hands of the clock at the Capitol with a long pole so that the president would be on-time for his inauguration.
Other leaders like Ulysses implore the mythological god Athena to extend the night so that he could have even more time to make love to his wife on his first night home after 20 years at war and lost at sea.
Yet as Gandhi knew, leaders already have all the time there is and they can do nothing to slow down the eventual passage of TIME.
That’s why leaders appreciate the significance of a poem by Henry Twells amended by Guy Pentreath and showcased at the TIME Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry:
For when I was a babe and wept.
And slept. Time crept.
When I was a boy and laughed.
And talked. Time walked.
Then when I was a man. Time ran.
But as I got older and grew, time flew.”
So precious is time that leaders think of opening a Time Treasure Chest every morning filled with $86,400. That’s how much money you would have if you had one dollar for every second in a 24-hour day. Leaders fiercely guard it. Leaders shrewdly invest in it. And leaders deftly manage it.
With that kind of treasure chest, –over a half a million dollars in time every week, many leaders carry gold or silver keys to that treasure. Some leaders even wear those Rolex keys fashionably around their wrist, all the better to keep a watchful eye on that treasure chest of time. Others, more simply, wear a pocket watch around their waist.
No matter. The tick tock continues marching to the leader’s vision at 9,192,631,770 oscillations per second. Even on a cheap pocket watch leading the way.
Pay homage to Time to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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