Ground Rule: Accelerate

Rapid change calls for a rapid response, but people often bog down in planning how to react. They confuse getting ready with actual progress. They diddle away precious time preparing to do something. You can analyze the situation to death: Weigh the facts. . . consider your options. . . get organized. . . calculate the best plan of attack. . . then take forever to debug that plan. Meanwhile, the beat goes on. Change, and the problems it creates, won’t wait on you to come up with a foolproof approach. Trouble is a moving target, giving you little time to take aim. By the time you come up with a perfect plan, the problems will have moved on you. And probably grown bigger. Getting ready gets dangerous when it creates a culture of delay. You can take time to roll up your sleeves, but that’s about it.

Today’s rapid rate of change calls for a culture of mobility. Put your faith in action rather than analysis, in pursuit instead of painstaking preparation. Your job is to help the organization dramatically shrink the time it takes to get things done. This means you must be willing to improvise, to feel your way along. You can’t afford to stop and study the situation from all angles before you make a move. Instead of trying to analyze and plan your way through problems, learn your way through the situation. Inertia is more crippling than mistakes. Inaction is the most costly error. So just get going. Mobility will be your best teacher. It’s the fastest way to find out what works and what doesn’t. Just keep moving. When you foul up, fix it. Learn from your mistakes, and plow on. This is how you energize the organization and build momentum. Create a culture of action that can keep up in a world of constant change.

Tools and Articles:
Rev Up The Organization's Operating Velocity

Old time supervision tends to slow things down. By comparison, management now should focus on acceleration of the enterprise. Your efforst should be shifting away from traditional governance and toward gunning it. The idea is to put as much kick as you personally can into the way the organization operates.

These days success depends on speed. Quick is what files the edge on your outfit’s ability to compete. So you must become an accelerator, looking for every opportunity to increase...

Speed Does Not Come For Free

In the scientific terminology of physics, energy is specifically defined as “the capacity for doing work.”

By now, most of us have heard the message at work. We know the push is on to pick up the cadence. To adapt quicker to change. To produce ever-better results, and do so at a faster clip. But speed doesn’t come for free. In fact, going faster gets expensive in a hurry when we consider the fuel consumption—the energy—it involves.

We’ve all had the everyday experiences of...

A Slow-Paced M&A Integration Is A High-Risk Strategy

The most common complaint employees have in the typical merger sounds like this:

“Nothing’s happening . . .
Why don’t they get on with it? . . .
They’re moving too slowly.”

Instinctively, the employees seem to know what’s best. Certainly they know what they want, and that is for top management to get the merger over and done with instead of letting it drag on and on. Employees need answers. They want closure. What they can’t stand is “not knowing,” and having to...

Rapid Change Calls For A Rapid Response

Rapid change calls for a rapid response, but people often bog down in planning how to react. They confuse getting ready with actual progress. They diddle away precious time preparing to do something.

You can analyze the situation to death: Weigh the facts . . . consider your options . . . get organized . . . calculate the best plan of attack . . . then take forever to debug that plan.

Meanwhile, the beat goes on. Change, and the problems it creates, won’t wait...

The Quicker the Change Effort Gains Momentum, The Harder It Is To Stop

Resisters rely on a strategy of delay. Naturally, speed is the adversary they fear the most. They hate “fast.”

Actually, the resisters don’t really even want “slow”. . . they want “not at all.” “Slow” is just the argument they use to get there. Their behavior is carefully calculated to make the change process stall.

Resisters wag their heads and warn about the risks of rapid change. They condemn speed as reckless, shaming those who are in favor of quick execution. They...

Help Create a High-Velocity Operation

Examine the corporate body count over the last dozen years or so. What you’ll find is that “slow” kills companies. And that, of course, means the death of many careers.

To survive—certainly to gain any competitive advantage—your organization must travel light and cover ground quicker. That drives the decision to decentralize, to delegate decision-making power. That’s why it’s important to erase boundaries between different parts of the organization, so work flows seamlessly and...

Good Goes Bad In A Hurry

When change hits, a common response is caution. Faced with the unfamiliar, surrounded by uncertainty, the organization gears down.

On the surface it makes sense. You really can’t do much to reduce the speed of change. But if you slow down, you somehow feel a little safer. So people put on the brakes, hoping to buy some time.

But change won’t wait on you. You simply don’t have time to take your time.

“Carefulness” actually gets dangerous when it creates a culture of...

Don't Choose Your Own Pace of Change

Some people fully intend to accept change, they just want to adapt according to their own schedule.

These folks cooperate . . . up to a point. They really don’t mean to resist change, but they do want to stay in their comfort zone. Their plan is to minimize stress by “pacing themselves.”

This behavior is based on several faulty assumptions.

First of all, let’s examine the mistake that comes in assuming we’ll feel less stress if we move slowly to change. Sure, we...

Forward Motion Offers The Fastest Education You Can Find

Growth doesn’t get started until you do. You must move...take action...mobilize yourself.

Sounds easy enough on the surface. But people get paralyzed by “planning.” They freeze up getting “prepared” to grow. Seems we want to figure out the answer before we start working on the problem. We like to do our learning first, then put it into action.

Fast growth calls for a more freewheeling approach. You must operate on the basis of learning as you go, not before you go....

Fast Growth Should Not Start Slow

Start your growth program with bold strokes. Courageous acts. Your opening moves should be strong enough to overcome inertia, give you instant momentum and create excitement inside.

Audacious action energizes a person. It’s like the initial thrust a rocket needs to clear the launch pad. Gutsy moves will power you forward, enabling you to escape the gravity field that pulls you back toward your same old daily patterns.

New habits are not easy to come by, and old habits are even...

Burn Up The Road

We’ll start with a one-question quiz: What do you think is the single best predictor of successful merger integration?

And here’s the answer: The length of the transition period.

The longer you take to integrate, the closer you live to the edge. Disappointing deals correlate highly with slow consolidation.

Decades of merger experience prove this. The t urtle m ay w in the race in fairy tales, but not in the grinding, gut-wrenching, high-risk game of merger integration....

Fast History

“There’s no off-season anymore.”
—Nolan Ryan, former Texas Rangers’ pitcher and
world record holder for no-hitters, in a commercial for Advil®

Change keeps picking up speed. Before the organization can finish getting adjusted to one change, it gets hit with several others. We’re living in a constant period of transition, and the shelf life of our solutions keeps getting shorter. “What works”...