Achieving optimal speed

As I’ve written here before, speed isn’t always about going faster. Sometimes you need to slow down to get the best results. But how do you know when to slow down and when to speed up?

Think of your organization as a train system. The signals on the track are the indicators telling you when to slow down and when to speed up depending on a whole bunch of factors. The stations are the different milestones along the way, getting you to your ultimate destination. The speed of other trains, passenger emergencies, the weather, track maintenance, volume, and many other things can impact the speed of the train. If the train slows down at the wrong time, it will fall behind schedule. If it goes too fast it might risk a crash because the tracks can only handle a certain speed or it might catch up to the train in front of it. The train needs to go at optimal speed to meet its’ schedule.

You need to create your own schedule based on how fast you can go in order to achieve the best results and you then need to put in place the indicators that will show you the progress that needs to be made. Just like the train system.

In case you still don’t believe me, here are some other examples where simply focusing on moving faster will be a detriment to achieving great results:

  • A plane leaving the gate early. Firstly, if the pilot rushes from the gate, some passengers might miss the plane. And secondly, how many times have you arrived early to your destination only to sit on the tarmac waiting for a gate to be ready or a ground crew to arrive? Focus on optimal speed, not just going faster.
  • A tractor trailer losing control while it goes down a hill too fast to arrive at its destination sooner. Again, you should focus on optimal speed, not just moving faster.
  • A race car driver passing during a tight turn, bumping the wall and losing ground on the leaders. Focus on optimal speed, not just moving faster.

There are numerous examples where organizations make these same mistakes – hiring new people too quickly, bringing new products to market before they are ready, implementing new strategies and ideas too quickly, and many others. The common theme is trying to move too fast. You can avoid these mistakes by having the indicators in place to know when to speed up and when to slow down.

Once you are operating at your optimal enterprise velocity, you will see your profits and performance soar.

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