Bad Girl, Good Business

“I have two speeds…”

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“I have two speeds — fast and faster.”

I can’t take credit for that quote. It came from soccer player Arjen Robben. But it sounds like something I could have said.

In fact, my cousin is the Flash. Not really, but he played the superhero in the TV show “Smallville.” So, speed is in my blood.

People often assume that professionals slow down as they age. Not so! I have been known to make those around me (of all ages) a little anxious (especially in Arizona) because of my passion for efficiency and what the business world calls “first-mover advantage.”

Consultants McKinsey & Company recently studied the role of speed in helping companies thrive during and after the pandemic economy. They assert:

“Fast organizations outperform others by a wide margin on a range of outcomes, including profitability, operational resilience, organizational health, and growth.”

Speed Doesn’t Kill

Intertia is more dangerous than speed in business. This year, the pandemic caused many people to get stuck and/or depressed and confused. They saw the world change but weren’t really sure how to respond. By the time they decided to take action, their competitors were way ahead of them.

But speed without vision is just mindless activity. You still need to start with some sense of where you’re heading.

Speed + vision = Spision.

(Yes…I often like to make up new words for important concepts).

Whether you’re starting a business or scaling it, you must think strategically and be thorough in your process, but make rapid moves, fine-tune, and adjust as you go. High-quality work can still be done rapidly if you “time yourself” and set ambitious goals for getting things done.

Moving quickly has many benefits:

  1. You can develop products or services that people need — when they need them.
  2. Speed-to-market is essential in competitive categories. While you’re perfecting your product or service, your competitors may be busy selling to your customers and prospects.
  3. You learn what works (and what doesn’t) and can fine-tune your approach to product delivery and marketing. Moving quickly will involve errors…you need to get comfortable with that.
  4. When you work quickly, you have more time to enjoy life. The average person spends a third of their life working (13 years and two months). Think about all the fun things you want to do but “don’t have time for.”

Teaching and inspiring others to keep up with your pace can be challenging at times. Truly diverse and inclusive organizations have teams who think and operate in different ways.

Finding that balance between a speed that your team members are comfortable with and one that leads to rapid results can be challenging.

If you’re super-speedy (and sometimes impulsive), you don’t want your team members to live in a constant state of anxiety and twitchiness. But, as in professional sports, speed matters, and people who normally operate in slow-mo often need to learn new ways of picking up the pace without sacrificing quality.

Why I Quickly Rejected Hourly Billing

I’ve had my own service business for close to 18 years. My time — and that of my clients and colleagues — has value and I respect that (and attempt not to squander it).

classic film time GIF by Warner Archive

But I’ve always believed that the “charging by the hour” model provides an incentive for professionals to drag out projects and move slowly. As I’ve gained experience, I can move much more quickly than I did even ten years ago. So, should I drag work out longer just so I can charge more?

I think not.

Spending time searching for the perfect trifecta of speed, quality, and price can be kryptonite. Think fast and act fast, but keep an eye on the other two factors while you’re moving 100 mph.

That perfect balance of superpowers takes time (which is ironic), but having the Flash in your justice league is not a bad thing — especially in a world that’s moving so quickly.

More about speed:

BGGB.OkeyDokey-fred How to move fast AND be productive.
BGGB_ShakingHands Encouraging slower workers.
BGGB_Thumbs-Down-fred Please stop assuming older workers are slower and less productive!
BGGB_Pointer Who are the fastest people on earth?

 

 

 

 

 

 


One Comment

  1. Good advice, not just for business but all things in life. Perfectionism has caused me to drag my feet and lose out on opportunities more times than I can count.


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