“Make haste slowly.” This charming proverb appears at first glance a riddle, because it is made up of words which contradict each other. The apt and absolute brevity of the phrase gives it a superlative, gem-like grace that seems to me especially beautiful.
If you weigh carefully the force of our proverb, how fertile it is, how serious, how applicable to every activity of life, you will easily come to the opinion that among the huge number of sayings you will find none of greater dignity.
It ought to be published and broadcast far and wide so that everyone will know it and there will be no one who doesn’t hold it of greatest use — especially those who lead.
People of lower station, if they have omitted something by laziness, or committed something through rashness, face lighter consequences, for the damage that is done can be remedied by smaller means.
But with leaders a single instance of neglect, or one counsel too hastily put into effect, dear God! what huge disasters have they not let loose upon humanity? But, if our proverb was there to help, I ask you, what could be better grounded than this kind of rule?
I consider this proverb has better right to be called royal than any other, not so much because royalty could best use it, but because the minds of leaders seem peculiarly prone to sloth and hotheadedness.
The ability to do whatever one pleases and the pestilent bravo of yes-men, the ready smiles, applause, and congratulations for the boss, whatever he does or says in any way — it’s no wonder if all these things persuade many to laziness, especially if the person exposed to these temptations is young and inexperienced.
Yet, actually, to the contrary, it often happens that the natural, lion-like vigor of some leaders' minds -- when inflated by wealth, whipped up by the prospect of great things, inflamed with anger, ambition or similar desires, and egged on by flattering counsels -- first charges out in one wrong direction, then in another, and then carries the whole company with it into the abyss.
Although it is possible to sin in both directions, a leader had much better pay attention to being slow than rapid.
Desiderius Erasmus, Festina Lente: Adagia II, 1, 1