The success of a venture, from the smallest marketing idea to an entire new business venture, depends on a lot of things, of course. One of them is speed of implementation.
Simply getting out there and doing whatever needs to be done quickly is of critical importance. There is only so much you can do mentally (all non-action is mental). You cannot plan-do-review if there’s no doing.
So why do we sometimes implement so slowly, or even worse, not at all?
A number of reasons –
1. Knowledge Gaps.
Management is not about gaining total clarity before acting, it’s about hitting the 80/20 sweet spot where 20% of the money and time that could be spent in preparation is spent yielding 80% of the achievable clarity. Then management is about execution, with a beady eye on the risks.
Waiting for the perfect moment to act. This is silly because there is no perfect moment.
However, there is the optimal moment. The moment when, allowing for the imperfections of life, conditions are propitious. Even sub-optimal may be OK. Sub-optimal does not mean “destined to fail”. It just means things could be better but things can always be better.
3. Fear of Failure.
I believe there is no species on earth possessing the ability of us humans to talk ourselves out of action. What causes this fear?
It is, simply, doubt. Or uncertainty. We have doubt and uncertainty because we are intelligent. We see overwhelming confidence in others as naivety, or worse, stupidity. Our analytical brains cannot help but have doubt, to see the uncertainties.
So accept doubt for what it is – a marker of intelligence, and then use that intelligence to act anyway, despite the uncertainty.
The higher the speed of implementation the quicker you will be successful. Doing stuff gets results and results allow you to fine tune and get better results. Isn’t it wonderful that we get better at something the more we do it? Wouldn’t it be strange if this was not so?
It is also true that the higher the speed of implementation the quicker you will fail. This doesn’t sound good but it is good. Not everything we do will work. If we implement quickly we will see failure coming earlier and then we can stop or change tack with minimal loss of money and time. The alternative is that we implement slowly and it takes years to find out what we have been doing isn’t getting us to our destination. And the price of that is colossal, in money and, critically, time.
So, how to implement with real pace, with real speed?
Well of course there’s all the usual management best practice that I bang on about all the time like getting everyone’s motivation sorted out; planning – sufficiently detailed while avoiding perfectionism; setting goals and deadlines; defining your high-payoff activities and using blocktime to leverage this most precious of resources etc etc etc etc etc.
These “outer game” tools and techniques are good.
But maybe there’s a few elements of the “inner game” that need addressing –
- Motivation – drill down really far into the “why”; the “reason for action”. This requires real insight and honesty and rigour but when you crack it it will power you straight through to your destination.
- Learn to see doubt and uncertainty as your friends, without whom you would be very, very lost. They are signposts towards what risks we need to manage, not excuses for inaction.
- Subjugate your ego – everything and I mean everything is secondary to the achievement of the goals. This means that you should get out of the way. Get off the critical path. Delegate and outsource until everyone’s eyes water, and don’t allow anything to be held up or delayed because someone is waiting for you to do something and you haven’t got around to it. Don’t worry – when you are successful everyone will know it was you in the driving seat.