I love speed.
I think quickly. I talk fast. I thrive on momentum.
I hate waiting in lines. Sitting in traffic is torture to me. I abhor anything that wastes my time.
I love when my client’s projects move fast.
Fast is good, right?
Slow down, let’s think this through.
The Two Ways To Move Fast
I used to work with a business coach. During our time together, he told me a number of valuable things. One of the most important pieces of advice was when he said to me “slow down at the beginning, to use your speed.”
One of the problems that I routinely encountered at the time he told me that , was my tendency to move too fast for my own good. I would make costly mistakes. I would forget critical steps in the process. I would get lost in the project, forgetting what the goal was, just that I needed to deliver…something.
One of the ways to go fast, is to take the time at the beginning to slow down, and plan out where you’re going and how you’ll get there. By doing this, you don’t need to make split-second decisions while you’re already going quickly. Once you figured out where you’re going and all of the details of how you’re getting there, the worst case is that you have to slow down a little.
The other way to go fast, is how most people think about speed: Just move faster.
When you move fast without getting clear about where you’re going, you often run the risk of making a mistake, missing your exit, or forgetting something back at the start. This may require that you stop and turn around, or even go all the way back to the beginning to start over. The other possibility is that you crash and do irreparable harm to the project. None of these options are very fast.
I’ve been on countless projects, where a client pushes for every deliverable faster and faster. Everything becomes urgent. Everything is a priority.
We need to go live yesterday.
It’s speed, for the sake of speed. It’s speed at the expense of quality.
As a strategist, part of my job is understanding timing and sequencing. I know that all too often urgency and a need for speed are artificially born of impatience and fear, rather than necessity.
a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.
I love momentum. It’s one of the reasons why I love to work after 10pm…there’s no one to interrupt me. Clients aren’t emailing, and if they are, they don’t expect a response. The baby is asleep. It’s silent and I can get into a rhythm where I can move quickly without interruption.
This is the same reason why I believe in the strategy and planning process. Few things frustrate me more than stopping and redoing work. I prefer to give myself the conditions to move quickly without stopping or starting over by having a plan that everyone is aligned to.
“If you think it’s expensive to do it once, wait until you see the price to do it twice.”
- Great houses aren’t built without a blueprint.
- Effective contracts aren’t drafted in between meetings.
- Great brands aren’t figured out along the way.
No matter what aspect of your business or your life you’re working on, make sure that you impose the speed limit that allows you to do great work.
Don’t let someone else’s need for speed put you in a position to do double work. They may resist in the moment, but it’s nothing compared to their frustration when the work needs to start over or their appreciation when you deliver great work on the timeline required for quality.
Also published on Medium.