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 want to sit down . . . talk things over . . . weigh the risks again . . . consider other options . . . ruminate over what might possibly go wrong. You’ll hear them emphasize the value of deliberation. They lobby hard for not making mistakes. They can present a powerful case—appealing to “reason,” and doing a guilt trip on you with their holier-than-thou attitude.
Be careful, or the resisters will con you into making the most fundamental mistake of all: Letting them choose the pace of change. Agreeing to go slow gives them home field advantage. Or even worse, it’s like letting the opponent call all your plays. Is this a game you can win?
Careful deliberation is appropriate in the planning stage, when you’re trying to decide on the right course of action. But even there resisters can bog things down in analysis-paralysis and indecision. In today’s high-velocity world, you should push for prompt, crisp decisionmaking. And once you start to implement, you should execute at a blistering pace. The quicker the change effort gains momentum, the harder it is to stop.
The idea is to keep the opposition off balance. Force the resisters to play catch up. Make change happen in a hurry—get it done—such that resistance hardly serves any purpose.
If your conscience starts to bother you because of all the criticism, consider this: The resisters talk one game, but walk another. They want the proponents of change to go slow, yet they personally resist fast. Ask yourself, did they actually deliberate about the best course of action, carefully weighing the pros and cons of resisting? Have they taken the time to truly think through the ramifications of their opposition? No. They don’t play by the rules they argue for. Resistance is typically a reckless, impulsive act. And usually it’s based on quite selfish motives.
The fact is, in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace, slow change doesn’t have a very high success rate. Quite the opposite. Slow raises the risk factor. There are far more failures from going too slowly than from exceeding some imaginary speed limit.
“It gets late early out there.” —Yogi Berra