How fast should we grow?I was recently asked to briefly consult and mastermind with the senior board members of a financial firm. They had enjoyed some growth over a number of years but were experiencing a plateau in that growth. The Board were bickering, causing conflict, and I was surprised to find that the values of these leaders were not aligned to each other and not aligned to the values of the company. The company was not clear about the direction they wanted to move in, the reasons why the company existed and the experience they wanted to give to clients.
With new competitors coming into the marketplace, this company had started to suffer. Their problem was that their politics had caused analysis by paralysis – giving competitors the advantage.
I’ve come across many companies that have spent years plateauing, losing money and profits because they’re stuck. The story of Blockbuster Video failing in the face of innovation to Netflix is a common one. We see the same thing happening with Toys-R-Us going into administration because they failed to identify the changing shopping habits of their customers, failed to embrace a digital platform, and failed to adapt to the new market.
Slow-moving firms have no future. The world is continuously evolving. Big players like Amazon, Apple, Whole foods and Nike are beginning to swallow up the markets. These companies are making customers’ experiences quicker, easier and more convenient. And because companies like Blockbuster Video and Toys-R-Us got complacent, they’re now struggling or out of business.
“Success is all about Speed”
To me, success is all about speed. I actually don’t care about anything else. Speed, both in people skills and hard work, will crush anything. How quickly you implement certain ideas, adapt to the market and stay ahead of your competition will make all the difference in your business.
As a former elite athlete that trained with Mo Farah, speed was so important, especially when it came to making a decision on when we needed to step up a gear, when we were going to overcome the competition, when we’d win the race.
It’s the same thing in business – you have two choices: hustle hard or get crushed by the competition.
“Speed to me is the difference between winning and losing”
Speed is about who wins the gold medal, who gets to the finish line first and who wants to win more. I’m extremely competitive and I don’t like to lose.
For me, it’s about how we take every single minute and make it count. How is it that I can squeeze in more meetings, how is it that I can add more value to my clients, how can I get on to a call or respond to a certain email, how do I deliver more results for my clients? At the end of the day, I have the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as everybody else. I don’t have time for politics and bureaucracy.
It’s the little things that matter. On a daily basis, I’m debating on whether I should take a fifteen-minute train journey or have someone drive me for thirty minutes. Yes, it may take an extra fifteen minutes above ground and cost me more money, however I can use the extra minutes to work. 15 minutes vs 30 minutes.
And believe me, I’m making decisions on a daily basis that could hurt the growth of my companies if I get it wrong and have a direct impact on the success of the business.
For me, speed really works in many different ways. Speed makes it possible for me to come up with new ideas, to implement those ideas, to be able to create new products and services for my clients so that they can get quicker results. One of my strengths as a results-orientated person is the fact that I can quickly unravel problems and challenges and come up with solutions and get people to implement those solutions as quickly as possible. It’s not about what costs money, it’s about what makes you money. I always ask myself what will it cost me if I don’t take quick and decisive action?
Speed creates momentum and builds confidence. If you execute with hustle, then you’re going to be more confident moving forward because you don’t have time to think. Many business owners wait to make sure everything is perfect. It’s important to realise that perfectionism is BS and that you don’t have to get everything 100% right all the time. Its ok to make mistakes. I learned more from losing than I did from winning.
“It’s not about perfection, but just getting things done really quickly”
Speed crushes limitations and limiting beliefs. It gets rid of ego, it gets rid of negativity and it really sets a standard in your culture.
As a leaders and role model, supporting a culture of speed is important because staff members seeing that you’re able to move fast, motivates them to also move fast.
Adam Strong is a former elite athlete who trained with Olympic gold-medalist Mo Farah. He has taken the principles of discipline, focus and productivity and applied them to business to help entrepreneurs and medium sized companies deliver fast and effective results. Read more about Adam at www.adamstrong.net.
Adam is a former elite athlete that trained with Mo Farah for 3 years and uses his skills from his athletic career and delivers world class results for entrepreneurs and medium sized companies. He is a serial entrepreneur and has 4 different business from health, to real estate and consulting.
He spends his spare time with his partner in Sweden and his children in the UK.