Speed as Strategy

Video published to promote our book The Responsive Enterprise.

Our society changes and accelerates. In the past it took years for a product to really hit the market. But nowadays there are apps with several million downloads in just a single day. And even that is accelerating. Up to hours, minutes, maybe even seconds. How does your organization respond to this acceleration? How do you achieve control in a fast changing world? How do you steer when everything is going really-really fast? How to prevent complete chaos? Or worse how to avoid total paralysis?

The answer to all these questions is actually really simple: become the number one in responding! After all responding to change is more important than following a plan. Charles Darwin already taught us, that it is only those species who survive that are most responsive to change. So, ensure your organization is fast, agile and fit. Ensure that you are able to respond fast to changing conditions. Ensure that you are ready: ready for anything.

And the way to accomplish this is by defining customer impact as the only key-result. Ensure that fast delivery of customer value is at the heart of everything you do. Transform your organization into a fleet of mini-companies: small agile teams that manage themselves. Mini-companies that have almost no distance to their customer, and that have the freedom to act, on their own. Not asking permission to the boss, but decide by themselves, with a direct impact on the customer. Only then will everyone in your organization look to the outside world. They will search for customer impact. And that will lead to success by itself.

After all, success will come naturally when you are the best and fastest in serving your customers. But that is not easy. Especially large organizations consider this to be really difficult. They have lost sight on their customer already many years ago. They put their own organization at the center of everything. They occupy themselves with colleagues and run from meeting to meeting. For them, their organization is the center of the universe and customers circle around them.

Centuries ago, this same misconception was considered to be the truth. In those ages everybody thought the Earth was the center of the universe and the Sun was circling around the Earth. And so it seemed, when looking from the Earth. Now we know better: it is the other way around. The same holds for the position of the customer. The customer is at the center and organizations circle around them.

Smaller and lighter ways of organizing make you agile and responsive. And that too was already discovered a long time ago. Isaac Newton taught us in 1687 that in order to accelerate, not only increasing force is important, but also lowering mass. Less mass accelerates and makes you light weighted and agile. Because speed is not the problem, but rather the solution! The faster you are, the earlier you finish. Only then will you be ready. Ready to respond. Ready to change. Ready for the unexpected. Always ready.

Ready for anything!