Over the next few weeks, our entire world will be focused on and fascinated with the upcoming Olympics in Rio. People who don’t normally follow sports or care at all about track and field or swimming or soccer or rowing or diving or beach volleyball or gymnastics etc. will be tuning in on their TVs and reading their newspapers about these sports and their corresponding athletes over the next two months.
The names of many of these athletes, whose names were completely unheard of last month, will become household names in the near future—and in some cases by mere tenths or hundredths of a second. Think about that. After years of training and competing, with all the requisite physical, emotional and relational sacrifices each of these athletes has made, the difference between being an Olympic Gold Medal winner and not, is often a tenth or a hundredth of a second.
In the Olympics, as in business, speed matters—and it’s often the difference between winners and losers—the difference between those who reap all the rewards and those who don’t, those who gain prominence and those who live in relative obscurity. And it’s one of the keys for you and your business—especially if you want to grow a fast growth business.
So, the question you have to answer for yourself is, “Are you fast enough to win?” In other words, if you and your business were being judged like an Olympic athlete, would you be fast enough to win a medal or not?
Note: there are some places in business where fast doesn’t work well. Creativity, for example, often requires a certain amount of “slowness” to percolate and generate more creative ideas. Or excellence, as another example, often requires more time to get things right before launching or completing them (realizing that excellence is defined as “doing the best you can with what you have … in the amount of time you have to do it”). But, in general, speed is one of the differentiators between winners and losers in the world you and I work in.
So, where should you be fast and how can you be faster? Well, here are five areas to consider to make sure you’re on track.
I. Are You Fast In Your Personal Routines?
As the head of your business, everything flows down from you. How you work, the example you set, the rules you put in place, the issues you highlight, etc. all lay the ground work for how your employees will work. So, if you’re fast personally, you’ll tend to build a fast-paced business. However, if you’re not, you won’t.
So, what kinds of personal routines are we talking about? How about how you organize and go about your day? Are you totally focused on what you need to do each day? Do you bring a lot of emotional energy to those tasks? Do you knock off to do items fast?
Do you make a daily to do list? Do you walk fast? Do you talk fast? Do you get to the point quickly in conversations? When something is delegated to you, do you get it done fast?
Remember, people do what they see, more than what they’re told. So, are you fast in your personal routines?
II. Are You Fast in Your Decision-Making?
Few things hinder success more than analysis paralysis. The need to keep getting more information and the desire to postpone decision-making as long as possible (usually driven by the fear of making the wrong decision) is one of the prime hallmarks of those who rarely win.
Fast growth companies, on the other hand, are always driven by fast decision-makers. The ability to quickly assess a situation and then make a great decision is both an art and a science—both of which must be learned if you want to win
For example, let’s say you have a legacy CRM system that’s hindering your sales team. The science part should allow you to quickly calculate issues like sunk costs or the cost of lost leads or wasted time. The art part means you should be able to quickly assess the emotional impact the decision will have on employees and how fast you can roll this out.
However, neither of those should take a long time for you to calculate—yet, most businesses will take years to solve a legacy system that’s not producing the results the business needs. That inability to decide fast, costs most businesses a ton of money and a lot of market share.
So, are you a fast decision-maker or not?
III. Are You Fast in Your Iterations?
As you know, nothing last forever. What was your cash cow last year, probably isn’t as successful this year. Or that new program that you initiated last year with your employees, probably isn’t having the same impact this year as it did last year. Why? Because everything in life moves from remarkable to ordinary to death.
That’s why fast growth companies are known for making lots of changes BEFORE they’re required.
So, how are you at iterating fast? Are you fast at iterating
- Your products and services
- Your customer service initiatives
- Your events
- Your marketing strategies and tactics
- Your programs
- Your marketing messages
- Your technologies, etc.
If you want to grow fast, you have to iterate fast. Change has to become your new constant.
IV. Are You Fast In Your Responses?
How many times have you won a customer/client because you were the first to respond? Probably more times than you can count on your fingers and toes. Actually, when I left pastoral ministry eleven years ago, after I landed one of my first speaking engagements, I asked the person who hired me, “So why did you choose me over all of your other options?” His answer, “You were the first to respond.” Got it!
Or how often have you given someone your business simply because they were the first to respond?
On the other hand, how many times have you passed on a company or a person simply because it took them too long to respond?
Like it or not, in a speed-oriented world, the person or business that responds faster to an inquiry or a problem is usually the winner—not only with that client but with all of the people that client will tell.
I’m in the middle of switching a service that I’ve used for a decade and one of the reasons why is they don’t respond fast enough. On the other hand, the service provider I’m switching too is hyper vigilant to respond to my emails and inquires incredibly fast (including while on vacation). Once the transition is made, assuming everything works as smoothly as it has so far, I’ll be telling others about this company. Why? Because fast responses matter.
So, how fast are you in responding?
Note: As a business owner/entrepreneur, one of your goals should be to build a business that does what you do. So, when I ask, “Are you fast in your responses?” I hope you read that as your “business” being responsive (as well as you, personally).
V. Are You Fast in Your Execution?
At the end of the day, fast for fast’s sake isn’t worth it. Just completing more tasks doesn’t make you or your business better or more productive. What accelerates growth is quickly executing/implementing your plans for growth.
So, when you create your strategic plan, are you fast at executing it? When you create a marketing plan, are you fast at executing it? When you create a new product launch, are you fast in executing it?
When you walk out of a meeting with three to do’s on your list, do you start executing them that day or do you wait until the day before the item is due?
When you create a plan for yourself, how fast are you at executing it?
Waiting until everything is perfect is a bad strategy. If you want to build a fast growth company, you have to build a culture where speed is highly valued—especially around this issue of execution.
And when it comes to speed of execution, NOTHING helps more than accountability–which is one of the reasons why I created The Wired To Grow Coaching Club. If you haven’t checked it out yet (and you want to grow a fast growth business that’s more scalable and successful), make sure you do so ASAP.
If you want to build a bigger, better and faster business, make sure you do each of the following five items fast.
- Speed up your personal routines
- Speed up your decision-making
- Speed up your iterations
- Speed up your response times
- Speed up your execution
Because if you will, you’ll find that your growth acceleration rate will take off and you’ll start gaining a disproportionate amount of the rewards in your market space.
To your accelerated success!