In other cases, the manipulation of time is less tangible. For example, one of the great skills that invincible executives have is the ability to build momentum in a project. Momentum is the acceleration of work within a set time period. It requires the ability to inspire, cajole, push, and drive a project toward a conclusion such that more gets accomplished in a shorter period of time than anyone could have possibly imagined at the outset of a project. The process can also be envisioned as the stretching of time "like a piece of chewing gum," as a patent-holding industrial engineer told me, to allow more to occur during a set interval.
Invincible executives build momentum by transferring their vision and enthusiasm for a particular project to their colleagues with both a carrot and a stick. The carrot is incentive—knowledge that success will bring specifically defined rewards. Invincible executives give their coworkers a "picture of the conclusion"—a vision of what the professional landscape will look like after the project is successfully accomplished, according to former Senator and Waco Special Counsel John Danforth. They allow others to visualize the greatness of the future. In effect, they manipulate time through the effective presentation today of a positive tomorrow. This process builds momentum and makes time work in favor of the group.
The stick is risk—knowledge that failure will have negative repercussions. Invincible executives tacitly paint the bleak picture of failure in the future—a subliminal parallel universe in which things are not going well. Remember, however, the carrot is in the foreground and is the focus of discussion; the stick is an undercurrent in the background. The invincible executive is always adept at manipulating time by building momentum in this fashion.
The invincible executive also knows when the flexibility of time must end. Leading medical researcher and academic Dr. Joshua Korzenik, for example, believes that flexibility in the area of medical research is critical. However, one of the biggest flaws among those who ultimately fail, he notes, is the inability to "realize that you are done." You should take as many detours as you need to take to ensure the integrity of your work, but eventually you have to arrive at a destination, according to Korzenik. Part of successful time manipulation involves ending a project cleanly.