I’ve been reflecting on the fundamentals of organisational speed and distilling the key lessons for businesses to work on. As a result, I’ve pulled together these five principles of pace that could accelerate your growth and success:
Be fixed on the vision, but flexible on the journey.
This is a Jeff Bezos quote and describes the philosophy he has applied to drive Amazon’s amazing success. The key lesson is that to drive pace and growth, you need a clear strategic ambition but that you should expect to flex and shift resources and activities in response to changing markets and circumstances.
Have everyone focused on the same big goal.
I worked with Topps Tiles, the UK tile retailer, helping the executive team to craft a strategy that included a goal of growing market share from 25% to 33%. Having done that, the team cascaded the goal across the organisation – agreeing local market goals with store managers – so that everyone was focused on the same goal. The result was that Topps achieved their highly-ambitious goal within four years.
Move three things a mile, not 100 things an inch.
This is a lesson I received from business coach, Alan Weiss. Focus is a key enabler of pace. That’s why Steve Jobs spent so much time at Apple stopping ideas and initiatives so that everyone could focus on driving the speed and effectiveness of the most productive and important.
Think big, start small, learn fast.
When you’re developing something new, it’s highly unlikely that your first prototype will work. Famously, for instance, James Dyson developed over 5,000 versions of his bag-less vacuum cleaner before creating the one that first went to market. The key to success is not to avoid failure, but to maximise the speed at which you learn from it, apply those lessons and develop something even better. That is the fundamental route to organisational speed and innovation pace.
Remember, you are the sprinter-in-chief.
If you’re a leader of your business, your teams are looking at you and your behaviours. They will not hear any of your calls for greater pace if you are not demonstrating, through your daily actions, your own willingness to get things done quickly. For example, are you making rather than deferring decisions? Are you going the extra mile to complete a project? And are you focused on accelerating your organisation’s most important priorities? These are the subconscious tests your people will be making before committing to similar behaviours.
Which of these five principles could you and your business work on to drive speed and accelerate growth?
© Stuart Cross 2018. All rights reserved.