The Importance of Speed

“High speed, low drag”

One of my favorite sayings and how I have always attempted to manage my teams and drive the elements of the business strategy I own and influence. Speed is often misunderstood and misapplied. Speed is not just about how fast you move… it’s timing, it’s frequency, it’s eliminating barriers and obstacles. It is adopting and maintaining a culture that encourages, nurtures and rewards speed. Speed is not a reckless and blind way to compete in complex markets. It’s strategic, deliberate and disciplined. It must become an instinct and a part of the DNA of an organization to have an impact.

So, how does an organization adopt a high speed, low drag mentality? By making informed decisions, in an efficient environment, driven by a clear strategy and an empowered team.

  • Data Culture: Having regular access to data (not perfect data – meaningful data)

We cannot hope to have every puzzle piece, but we need to have the important ones. “Just good enough” data is the name of the game. Identify what leading indicators drive performance, find a way to measure them, socialize the importance of that data, make it part of the fabric of the way your business is done, and track it.

Adapt and evolve the data as you get better. It should always be a moving target here. Having a data driven culture can drive your offense and help create efficiencies. It better connects you to your customers, your differentiators and your opportunities.

  • Process Minded: Having processes that are designed to save time and reduce errors

Processes should enhance the outcomes you are driving not add layers of work or complexity. They should save time and energy and simplify the ecosystem. If you’re processes are NOT accomplishing these things, you need to revisit them. Being innovative in process is as important as being innovative in what you sell (solutions design) or how you sell it (marketing). Think outside the box.

  • Clarity and Communication: Clear vision and frequent communication

It is difficult for employees to get on board with a strategy when they don’t know what the master plan is supposed to be. Communicate the why, the how and the what of the strategy. Make sure people understand where they fit into that vision and regularly communicate how the strategy is unfolding. If there are risks we are trying to avoid or opportunities we are trying to capture, make sure that is clear. Employee engagement is tied to how closely they see themselves making an impact. Communication and vision clear the pathway.

  • Make it Everyone’s Responsibility: Empowering employees from the bottom up

Empower employees at every level of the organization to make decisions to amplify a positive customer experience and reduce decision making time for individuals farther up the chain. This is a time saver for the business, is an engagement tool for employees, and should amplify the customer experience. This can act as a differentiator from your competitors as well.

Speed can act as a way to outwork and outthink your competition. From leveraging data to know more that matters sooner, to disciplined process management companies can accelerate in the most meaningful places faster. Speed can enable a better customer experience by eliminating wasted decision making time at every level allowing well-informed and empowered employees to operate on behalf of the customer strategy at every step.

It’s not enough to be the fastest… it’s about striving to be the best. Making the right decisions at the right time with the right information.

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