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Slow Down to Speed Up: Taking it Slow Can Lead to Acceleration

This is a follow up to a video I posted last week. Check it out here!

In today’s incessant whirlwind of information, it can feel like you have to always be moving at lightning speed just to keep up. Slowing down seems counter-intuitive to the functioning of today’s businesses as acceleration seems to be the only way to stay ahead of changing technology, globalization, etc. However, taking the time to slow down and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks before launching into high-speeds is the key to sustainable acceleration and growth in your company.

People like Patrick Lencioni and Kimi Werner have talked about the benefits of slowing down in various forms. I covered their ideas in the first part of this series but as a quick recap: Patrick champions the idea of slowing down to speed up and Kimi talks about slowing down when you feel the need to speed up. Let’s explore why it is so important to slow down and why not giving enough time to really explore problems may be a major hindrance to the growth and acceleration of your company.

Don’t Crash

As any good driving instructor will tell you, if you don’t slow down while going into a curve, you’re going to crash. It’s the same in business. And, as much as we would like to, we can’t just accelerate over the small problems and hope they won’t affect the business. To continue with my driving analogy, think about a racecar traveling at extremely high speeds on a gravelly road. If you try and change directions while still going at a very high speed, you will not have enough interaction with the road to give you the force to change directions. The pebbles will spin out of your wheel. You will lose your foundation and you’ll spin out in the direction you were originally going. This is true in business. If you are already accelerating very quickly and decide to launch a new product or service but don’t take the time to slow down make sure that all the kinks are worked out and that the teams promoting and working on the product/service fully understand it (read: have a solid foundation), you’re going to eventually lose control.

Swim Towards the Problem

Problems are annoying. They take time and effort to try and solve something that you just want to work already. And trying to solve problems correctly without slowing down is not only difficult but overly taxing of everyone’s time and energy. We’ve all been in situations where a significant problem in a project/product/service surfaces late into the process (and sometimes after launch) and it’s a stressful scampering to try and get it solved. By diving in and swimming towards the problem before you accelerate again, you are tackling the problem head-on in a way that doesn’t frazzle you or your team.

Accelerate at the Right Time

Now, all of this doesn’t mean that you should always stay in “take-it-slow” mode. Acceleration is necessary for… well, acceleration. To grow, you have to accelerate. To stay competitive in your market, you are most likely in acceleration mode. Be strategic about it. Although the temptation to speed up is there, take enough time to slow down and work out the problems. But don’t spend so much time focused on the small details that you lose the forest from the trees. Plan to slow down but also have a plan to get back up to speed once you are ready. By doing so, not only will you have a smoother acceleration, you will also be able to stay at that speed for longer. It is a fine line that every business needs to walk to be successful.