Running Fast to Go Slow

Published by Lex on

It seems like we are always running fast to go slow. Trying to track many things at once. Many moving pieces swirling around…Things getting started faster than things getting finished.

The queues getting bigger. The unfinished business grows larger like this huge burden. Some of it just goes away because it is no longer seen as important or people just plain old forget about it.

If it is important enough to start, it is important enough to finish. Or if you can’t finish, make a conscious decision to stop it.

Letting it linger in limbo, doesn’t help anyone or anything.

Start fewer things and finish more things. Go slower with more attention to detail. Doing it right consistently than doing it fast.

Right to market beats time to market just about everytime.

Our information systems are doing us all a massive disservice by making us think that we can truly multitask and handle many more things in the same amount of time.

We put together algorithms to help us automate tasks and get things done without having to put the time in. The algorithms are clever and helpful but at the core, they are deeply problematic.

So many channels of communication to monitor, so many repositories of information of varying degrees of completeness and accuracy are driving too many to reach for the quick, expedient and undifferentiated decision.

Sometimes, I like to think of this as an example of “Knowledge Turns” which is kind of the mostly mythical analog to the idea of inventory turns in manufacturing. The speed at which a factory pushed through product and turned over inventory was often considered a sign that the business was doing well.

This was one of the basic tenets of lean manufacturing… Inventory wasn’t sitting on shelves gathering dust. Inventory was moving through the system.

Obviously, individuals and organizations process information at different speeds and if you and your organization can push more through faster then there is a potential competitive advantage there.

However, knowledge is not exactly physical inventory. Some knowledge depreciates, but other knowledge holds its value for longer.

One rule of thumb doesn’t make any sense when it comes to knowledge work.

Finding a cadence that makes sense for you and your organization to push out great work is the only way to fight the urge of running fast to go slow.


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