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When quantity trumps quality

Last month was Fathers Day and it got me thinking a little bit about the role of parenting in general. I hear constantly from people I coach and mentor as well as those that I’m friends and acquaintances with that they aspire to spending “quality” time with their children.

What is “quality time?”

Is quality time in parenting attempting to schedule an hour of time with your children and trying to make an experience perfect, only to be irritated when it’s not? Is quality time forcing your children to play by your rules because it fits into your schedule like they are a client meeting? Or is quality time really just your search for affirmation that you’re a good parent?

(Fear not, this isn’t my guide to parenthood. There is a business lesson here, so keep reading.)

If you are a regular reader of my columns and articles, you know I espouse the theory that time isn’t a resource issue; it’s a priority issue. I believe parenting is not about “quality time,” rather it’s about “quantity of time.” It’s only through many hours of doing things you’d rather not be doing, sacrificing time meant for your own purposes, and the actual mundane times spent together that true “quality” emerges. Parenting is about the time of being together, not just the incidental and infrequent “glories” that come from graduations, weddings and honors.

Quantity not only trumps quality … it’s necessary for quality to even exist.

Okay, here’s the business parallel you’ve been waiting for. Quality is one of those business keywords that have been immersed into our stream of consciousness since sometime in the mid-1980s. Quality control, quality assurance, and quality management have all been bandied about boardrooms and water coolers until the word has actually lost its meaning and believability. It’s time to start shifting your thinking away from quality and into quantity so you can actually reap the rewards you want. Consider these examples:

You want to write a book? Success is not about quality of time sitting in front of your computer monitor and keyboard. It’s about forcing yourself to write at the hours that are often inconvenient, tedious and uninspired. If you’re waiting for that quality time to unleash your creativity, your book will never be written. Quantity of hours is what delivers results.

You want to learn another language to advance your business opportunities globally? Great idea, yet the only way to become conversant is through immersion. Immersion takes quantity of time. If you’re waiting for that perfect moment to gain the best experience, then you will find yourself stuck repeating the only three sentences you know.

You want to create new business revenue? You’d probably be amazed at the number of times I’ve heard people exclaim; “I’m waiting to launch my new campaign/idea/product for the right moment.” I’ve also seen people stall because their idea isn’t yet to the “quality” they want. Marketing requires daily activities and in large quantities. It’s the quantity of time you spend marketing and meeting people that will ultimately determine whether your revenues are increased. 

Here are five business strategies that any professional in any industry can use to start transitioning their paradigm from quality to quantity to realize prompt, positive results. They are painless, powerful, and guaranteed for immediate improvement:

• Abandon the notion of perfection. Perfection requires timing, serendipity and the alignment of moons. It also stalls momentum and great ideas. Business and life are about success, not perfection.

• Discern what works. Figure out what works for your business success and then do it every day, whether you feel like it or not.

• Get help. Too many of you try to be a lone wolf. Remember that wolves actually work best in a pack, and the lone wolves don’t generally survive. Using a coach or mentor that keeps you sniffing the right trail is a tremendous return on investment.

• Prioritize. Not everything carries the same weight. How you prioritize your time will ultimately determine how much quantity you can allocate to those most important activities. 

• Increase quantity of time in key areas. Increase the quantity of time you spend in: investing in your professional development; marketing and branding your business; creating intellectual propert; meeting prospective clients face to face; rewarding yourself; living in the moment; and spending more discretionary time doing absolutely “nothing” with your family.

As you’re reading this, I’m traveling cross-country in a car with my 25-year old daughter bringing her home from Ohio after seven years of university schooling that resulted in a master’s degree and a new job. I’ve calculated that the quantity of time to drive home will be about 33 hours. By the law of large numbers, there will be more “quantity” than “quality” in the trip.  But in the end, that quantity will create a quality that can be unmatched by any kind of preparation, planning or control. In fact, I surmise that the most memorable of times will be sitting quietly doing nothing but listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy Joel and The Eagles while staring at the redundant landscape motoring through Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana.

Find where you need to beef up your quantity to increase the value you provide to others and eventually assure success, happiness and quality. 


• Dan Weedin is a strategist, speaker, author and executive coach. He helps business leaders and executives to become stronger leaders, grow their businesses, and enrich their lives.  He was inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant™ Hall of Fame in 2012. You can reach Dan at 360-697-1058; e-mail at dan [at] danweedin [dot] com or visit his web site at www.DanWeedin.com.


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