Lessons in Persistence from Tiffy

What is Persistence? Is persistence a good thing? If so, how do we do it? What should we be persistent about?

According to the Collins English Dictionary persistence is defined as:
1. the quality of persisting; tenacity
2. the act of persisting; continued effort or existence
3. the continuance of an effect after the cause of it has stopped persistence of vision

By the definition above persistence can be viewed as a characteristic or an action. For me Persistence in Leadership terms is about continuous action in the direction of the desired goal or objective, even when the situation or circumstances are not favourable. I believe that a leader needs to have persistence in order to succeed over the medium to long term. Persistence is important in ensuring that you and the organisation get through the hard times.

With persistence one needs to review that the goals and objectives are in the right direction. For example persistence in a product that is at odds with the market will lead to a decline in sales of that product or organisation. The Eastman Kodak Company is a classic example of this. Kodak developed the first digital camera in 1975. However Kodak essentially focused on the photographic film business, fearing that digital camera threatened their traditional market. In this case persistence of a product, has led to issues that have threaten the survival of Eastman Kodak Company.

So how do we become persistence? To answer this there is a story I would like to share with you. You may have heard of it as I have a number of times. I am not sure of the source, however it sums up well the what and how of persistence:

It is about a tribe in Africa that performs the rain dance. Like other tribes in Africa that perform the rain dance, they dance for days and even weeks at a time. The type of dance is the same or similar to the other tribes. However there is one difference. This difference is that every time this tribe dances it rains….. Every time…. So why is this so? Is it the way they dance? Is it how they dance? Is it where they dance? Is it who dances? The answer is that they dance until it rains. The tribe is persistence and dances until it rains.

We have a dog Tiffy and she is persistence. For example the other day she wanted to come into the rooms where we were. However on this occasion we had kept her to the parts of the house that we were not in. She was persistence knocking on the door, as if to ask “can I come and be with you”. Eventually she was told to stop knocking, which she complied with. From the silence I had thought that she had gone off to do other things. But no………. When I got to the door, hours later mine you, she was sitting on the other side waiting. Now that is persistence. Tiffy’s persistence paid off, as I knew immediately that she wanted to see us and she was in the best place to take advantage of situation. Needless to say, she got her wish to join us and got a pat.

So to summaries here are a few dot points about persistence:
– So persistence is one of the traits of a leader. All leaders have had to display persistence in their roles and this is displayed by their actions.
– It is important however that as leaders we are persistence in the right things and that we review our goals and objectives to ensure alignment to bigger picture.
– Persistence is very much about keeping going until you achieve the desired outcomes.
– Through being persistent you will develop a sense about you. This sense will place you in the right place at the right time and others will follow you.

Created by: Attila Ovari
© Attila & Kim Ovari 2012. The content of this Article may be reproduced with permission of the author. Created on 10 Jun 12

Other articles on leadership can be found at:
Is Win-Win the Ideal Outcome?
Leadership or Management?
Personal Development Lessons From Ice Skating

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: