“Do you want this done fast or right?” How often do you get this question from your leadership team and staff? And how often do you answer: “Yes!” In other words, you don’t want to compromise on either aspect – making mistakes is not an option, yet neither is slowing down.
Speed Versus Slow and Steady
We see it everywhere. Organizational processes, communications, and human interactions in today’s world are speeding up. Companies want to become more agile. Leaders fret that their organizations cannot move faster if their staff operates slowly.
According to this HBR article, exceptional leaders require both a faster pace but also a quality focus. Is this really possible?
What does it take for you as a leader to have both high quality and fast pace?
To research this question, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman (leadership development consultants) reviewed a study that included information on more than 75,000 leaders. They identified a group of leaders who were in the top quartile on both speed and quality and compared this group to all other leaders in the database.
What did they do differently from other leaders?
Zenger and Folkman identified seven unique factors that must exist to combine these two seemingly contradictory critical leadership goals – speed and quality.
- Provide clear strategic perspective. Leaders rated as having both high speed and high quality were absolutely clear about the vision and direction of the organization.
- Set stretch goals and maintain high standards. Stretch goals have a natural tendency to increase speed.
- Communicate powerfully. When everyone is on the same page both speed and quality increase.
- Have the courage to change. Speedy leaders with high quality output became the champions of change.
- Consider external perspectives. The leaders who were top in speed and quality are skilled at looking outside the organization and identifying trends and changing mindsets early.
- Inspire and motivate others. These leaders have the ability to inspire people in the organization.
- Innovate. Leaders with fast execution and high quality were always looking for a fresher, faster, more efficient way to deliver.
Discuss These Skills in Your Leadership Team Meeting
Take two minutes to read this HBR article and the details for each factor. They align not only with speed and quality, but also with effective leadership of a fast growth organization. Discuss these factors at you next leadership team meeting (Do you have one?).
Please let us know how you will apply these skills in your company. Contact me here. Speed? Quality? Both?
© 2017 David Paul Carter. All rights reserved.
Also published on Medium.