Sometimes you have to push things fast to get them done … to meet a deadline, an expectation or a commitment. And going fast can be exhilarating. But if you find yourself doing everything at a frenetic pace, you’re liable to run out of energy and start making mistakes. Sometimes you just need to slow down to take stock of everything you have going on: get focused on a shorter list of important initiatives and get serious about delegating the less important tasks to other people who can do them for you.
It’s kind of like racing a car on a track. When you drive a car at its limit, it is exhilarating but the pace isn’t sustainable and that feeling comes at a cost: you use more energy, you use more fuel, your range diminishes, malfunctions are more likely, and the risk of mistakes — potentially serious mistakes — increases.
Just as in business.
Working at a frenetic pace will eventually wear you out and your team will feel it too:
- You're less likely to get to the finish line
- Your work is more prone to mistakes and errors in judgement, and
- You're more likely to accept the outcomes you get rather than those you set out to achieve.
On the other hand, driving just a little below that threshold, where you're still in full control, reduces stress, decreases fuel consumption, increases range, and decreases risk. Race teams know that optimizing all the interrelated moving parts without over-stressing any one part of the system is a winning strategy. As Niki Lauda, three-time Formula One World Drivers' Champion, has said,
“The secret is to win, going as slowly as possible.”
Similarly, working just a little more slowly and more deliberately means taking the time to identify all the “moving parts” in your business and optimize them in a way that allows you and your team to concentrate on what really is important, without ever over-stressing one part of the business or one person. As a result:
- You will have more endurance for the projects you chose to direct your time and energy towards
- You're more likely to complete those initiatives
- You will make better decisions along the way
- You're less likely to make errors, and
- You're more likely to achieve what you originally set out to achieve.
Think about those times in your life when you’ve felt as though you were performing at a level that was exhilarating and, yet, you still felt that you were in complete, masterful control. Maybe it was while participating in a sport or recreational activity? Maybe it was while solving a problem for a client? Maybe it was carving a canyon behind the wheel of a car? Exhilarating, yet in complete control — that is the sweet spot that you are looking for in your business.
So, reflect on how you’re managing your business and your team? Are you running ragged and constantly pushing your team to perform at their limits? If so, take time to assess how all this frenetic activity fits into the bigger picture of what you are trying to achieve. What are some of the ways you could lift your foot off the gas or tap the brakes just enough for everything to be in back control? You are still moving forward quickly, but in a sustainable, controlled, strategic manner, and most importantly, driving to where you want to go.
You owe it to yourself and your team to slow down to build your business faster.
To your Success, Differently,