Direction Over Speed

Speed has been the focus of many leaders.

We’ve been pushed to be more efficient, quicker to release, and the first to market. Everything tells us that speed is good.

Blurred lines caused by speed

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

What if I told you this was wrong? What if speed wasn’t as good as we’ve made it out to be?

You may think I’m crazy. You may think Joseph’s finally gone off the rails.

Yet, by the time you’re done reading, you will agree with me.

Why Speed Isn’t The Bee’s Knees

Everyone likes to be first. Our sports stars have taught us this.

Every winner had to come in first. They beat the other team. They shot more shots than the other team. Something brought them to first place.

This mindset has invaded our businesses. We think that speed is the key.

It’s not. Though it is important.

Speed isn’t the thing we should be looking toward. Why?

Speed will get us to places faster. It will push us forward.

Those are good things. However, if we’re not focused on direction, we will find ourselves in places we don’t want to be.

Imagine this: You’re headed out on a trip. You’re flying to your dream destination of Hawaii. The plane departs crazy fast. You cannot believe how fast the plane is flying. You think to yourself that you’ll be there in no time.

There’s a problem.

The plane isn’t flying to the west. Instead, the pilot kicked on the turbo thrusters and pointed the plane south.

Yes, you’re going fast. You’re also traveling in a direction.

The direction is not the direction you want to go. It is taking you away from your destination. Worse, it’s keeping you on a path that will never reach Hawaii!

Oh no! The horror!

Direction Over Speed

Leaders can be like the pilot of the plane above. We get so caught up in the desire for speed. We want to kick out multiple projects, be first to market, or some other metric based on speed.

However, our focus on speed has made us miss where the focus should be. Our focus should be on the direction we’re taking the company.

Look at what you’re doing.

Have you thought about the direction your actions are taking the company? If you have, are those actions truly taking you in the direction you desire?

When we stop to look at the direction we’re headed, we often see that we’re going in the wrong direction.

Course Correct

Now that you know your problem, it is time for you to course correct it. How do you course correct? You do the following:

  • Slow down
  • Focus on the horizon (see where you really want to go)
  • Turn toward the desired destination
  • Slowly build speed again
  • Floor it once you’re headed in the right direction

Speed is great. You will get to your destination more quickly if you have speed behind you. However, if you’re not headed in the right direction, no amount of speed will be helpful. Your speed will only take you further away from where you want to go.

Make sure your direction is correct before you floor it.

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