“The speed of your decision-making should match the velocity of the trends!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
In the before-times long ago – say, 2019, before Covid and the global pandemic – many organizations were already struggling with the future, being structured for slow in a world that was becoming increasingly fast. I spent a tremendous amount of time speaking at CEO or CxO level events for global organizations, helping them to understand the trends that were disrupting and reshaping their world and the innovation barriers that were holding them back.
That line of business is now slowly coming back as companies come to realize that the post-pandemic (if there is such a thing), the world is even faster. I call it the ‘Acceleration Gap‘ – and it’s a very real issue.
I was thinking about this the other day while on an exploratory call with a company in the consumer products industry that needs this type of opening keynote for a corporate offsite event. While talking, I jotted down some notes on what I believed their challenge might be – and after the call, I kept on going.
The context of my notes led me to this post – what is holding you back from acting fast, unable to align to the speed of trends?
- you form committees that bog down your process of decision making
- you study things to death, seeking to find elusive information that doesn’t exist
- you have a culture with an entrenched inability to make a commitment
- you suffer from an inability to make a decision based on imperfect information but this is with a faster world that is leading to more imperfect info!
- you suffer from an internal conflict between an old slow guard and a fast new team and don’t know how to resolve it
- you spend more time chasing that information than analyzing it
- or once you attain it you spend more time analyzing it than acting on it
- you permit a culture of aggressive indecision to seep into the organization
- you aren’t aware of a trend of significance and hence don’t assign anyone responsibility to deal with its impact and opportunity
- you are in complete denial of the emerging trend and dare to presume to ignore it
- you think that old slow solutions might help you to deal a fast new trend that is fundamentally different from anything you’ve known before
- you are drowning in a level of hubris and arrogance as to your future that blinds you as to the real impact of a trend.
- you have yet to master the key skill of forming fast teams – the skill of finding necessary skills at the right time for the right purpose
I could go on, but here’s an interesting thing to think about – during Covid many learned to operate at speed. Here’s a slide I’ll often work into my talks today about the real impact of the pandemic:
- we saw 10 years of change in 6 months
- major trends accelerated
- organizations learned something new about speed!
- agility and flexibility became critical!
- business models shifted faster
- acceleration of direct-to-consumer brands!
- people became more adaptable to new interaction methods!
- the attitude ‘it can’t be done!’ disappeared
- decision making paralysis disappeared
- the slow structure was put under a microscope
- old barriers to new ideas disappeared
- get it done became the rallying cry!
If your competitors are built to operate at a new speed of decision-making and have a structure that matches it – and you aren’t – you’ve got a bigger problem than you think!