In today’s high velocity, always-on business environment, top business leaders like you are expected to make rapid decisions, work at a breakneck pace, and achieve exceptional results—all without losing a beat. Fast, faster, and faster yet. That’s the mandate from customers, colleagues, managers, business partners, the board, investors, and any number of other important stakeholders. Yet no individual, team, or organization can consistently and sustainably do its best when working at a frenetic pace or under constant, intense pressure.
We know that decisiveness is an essential leadership trait. But hasty decision-making? Not so much. Getting results quickly is important too. Yet an exclusive focus on short-term wins undermines long term growth. And excessive attention to daily activity absolutely slows innovation and meaningful strategic impact.
Yes, it is essential to be agile in today’s business climate—and that can require moving pretty fast. But remember, if you move too quickly, too often—if you chronically rush to results, react rather than anticipate, attend to short-term activities but neglect the long-term view—you will miss important opportunities for growth.
In going too fast, you are also certain to make mistakes—many of them repetitive, most of them avoidable. Sometimes these will be modest-enough mistakes. Ideally, you will learn from them and move on. But if you are in the habit of continually going too fast, you will make the kind of mistakes that put you, the company, your customers, and investors at risk. These mistakes may require millions or even billions of dollars to remedy. They will also cost you clients, employees, and industry repute.
There is a solution to all this going-too-fast, and it’s right at your fingertips. It’s really a matter of shifting the balance. Adjust your focus from near-term activity to the longer-term, strategic view. Be far more proactive than reactive.
Slow down to deconstruct and learn from both successes and failures.
Refuse to be pulled into fire-fighting mode. Deliberately shift the balance and you will find it much easier to move forward while preventing mistakes, large and small.