Fast is important. As Gary Hamel wrote in his classic Harvard Business Review article, “The Quest for Resilience,” “The only dependable advantage is a superior capacity to reinvent your business model before circumstances force you to.” Accelerated obsolescence is certainly putting this notion to a real test across all industry sectors and geographies. Both your customers and their customers continuously expect and
demand the next innovation that will increase value, service or convenience, and have come to expect innovation in real-time or even quicker. The idea that speed matters is becoming increasingly evident even in industries that once seemed somewhat immune to this dynamic. Organizations and leaders able to adapt and adjust like a NASCAR driver weaving through the crowded track at 200 mph will be well- positioned to succeed.
For speed to be an advantage, an organization must become faster than competition at what really matters. It is not a matter of always being faster at everything. Speed is a relative measure-after all, how fast is fast? Your customers and competitors will determine that for you. Historically, speed and cycles times were mostly measures found in manufacturing environments. In the current hyper- competitive world, however, speed matters every step of the way in every kind of product or service organization. From recognizing emerging trends, navigating your various decision-making loops and on to all aspects of your innovation processes, fast is not only expected, it is demanded. Below are a set of characteristics that we have found to differentiate FAST vs SLOW organizations. You can find much more discussion on how to help your organizations become more FOCUSED, FAST & FLEXIBLE in our new book.