In the AT&T “faster is better” commercial series (click here to watch) the point is simple – faster is better.   And, yes, when it comes to cell phone speed it is. But when it comes to business growth strategies, is faster always better? 

business_growth_strategiesBusiness leaders, in particular, are speed maniacs and  ‘speed is life’ has been adopted as the mantra of several organizations.  I wonder if it’s time for the leaders of these organizations to ask themselves… Is more speed always the best business growth strategy? What if Steve Jobs only allowed a year for Pixar to perform?  What if Jeff Bezos listened to the pundits and analysts during the years of Kindle development?


Think about any of a number of brands that have remained true to a core set of promises over time whether a consumer product brand like Cheerios or a services brand like Mayo Clinic.  It isn’t speed – or specifically more speed – that is the driver of value.   In some cases it is predictability.  In other cases it is flexibility to adapt and morph with changing market requirements.


In the ROAR research we published earlier this year, we asked 102 executives about the tradeoffs between speed, predictability, flexibility and leverage.  What pleased and, frankly, amazed us is that the vast majority of the participants across a wide mix of industry groups, when asked to make a choice, said that flexibility and predictability were by far more important than additional speed in their operating models, customer experiences and to drive financial performance.  Even the CEOs who stood out in the study as wanting more of everything (big surprise!) said, in rank order, they would place flexibility and predictability above speed and leverage as the key performance drivers.


The next time you feel in a rush to push through an idea, a change, an extension, or kill an initiative because it is not producing results fast enough,  ask yourself “Is speed really the determining factor for your business growth strategy?”  In more cases than not, you’ll find the answer is no.

photo credit: Damian Morys Photography