Speed and Inclusion

Let’s talk about speed…the need to have timeframes, deadlines and target dates that are determined by markets, competitors and customers.  Not by internal processes and “when we feel like it.”  Also, the importance of inclusiveness, team play, and our leaders’ responsibility to get people on the same “page.”  Is there a conflict between “speed” and “inclusion”?  Is taking time to collaborate at odds with moving quickly?  I don’t think so.

In our ultra-competitive world, being late greatly increases our chance of losing, and being early helps us win…at this level it is a pretty easy choice.  Inclusiveness is important too, because most of our work is complicated, and can only be executed well if many people understand exactly what they need to do, and then do it.  Taking an extra step to get everyone on the same page can make everything else go faster, improving both our ability to be on time, execute well, and win.

Striking a balance here requires a few things, but mainly judgment.  Leaders have to assess who and how many to “include” and how much time should be allotted for “inclusion.”  People have to participate (or be included) when and where they are asked, not when they feel like it.  If you can’t make the meeting or conference call, find another way to communicate your views without slowing the process down.

Everyone has to recognize that inputs have to be collected, expectations have to be communicated, and decisions have to be made based on external deadlines and commitments.  If you don’t know what the timeframe or deadline is for doing something, ask.  If you

know what it is, adjust your schedule to accommodate it or make other arrangements so the process can move forward.

Customers set the pace, and there is only one time zone that counts – the one they (not the rest of us) are in.  If all else fails, just remember that fast companies that deliver on their commitments win more than slow companies that don’t…


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