festina lente and Velocity

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“There is no problem so bad that you cannot make it worse.”

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Chris Hadfield

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Far too often businesses overemphasize speed. They confuse speed with quality, value and, most importantly, agility. This confusion typically leads one to making the most obvious or most popular or the most expedient <speediest> decision rather than the best decision <the one which creates velocity>.

We should always remember that at its core agility is not speed, but rather making haste patiently or festina lente <make haste slowly or patiently>.

 

Decision making is all about the combination of recognizing the resources at hand, patience and timely haste. Unfortunately, today’s business world is infamous for the efficiently hasty ‘close’ <most expedient choice> and not the patient hunt <for the right choice>.

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“Strategy is turning the resources you have into the power you need, to win the change you want.” Marshall Ganz

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This infatuation with speed far too often forces us to make decisions based on limited or ambiguous information. The truth is, when done well, decision making and consequences is actually a patient methodical process where at the beginning of the process, when the finer details have yet to be clarified, there is a need to be bolder in our decision-making – particularly because these early decisions have the most far-reaching consequences. With more resources, and knowledge, and have fewer doubts about what to do, there are less fundamental things to decide. This is called the Consequences Model created by the Danish organization theorists Kristian Kreiner and Søren Christensen.

 

Philosophically this means the most important question is how we can bridge the chasm between doubt and decision.  This shouldn’t be done just by ‘feel’ or ‘gut’ but rather incorporating in some patient assessment. Here is the paradoxical quandary business is in.

Faster good choices are better, i.e., fast AND good.

The problem is there are very few good “choicers” <people who can do the first thought well> available. Yes. Many within an organization believe they are good ‘choicers’ despite more often implementing less than optima choices <and permitting them to make choices has a paradox effect of building additional personal self-esteem as ‘good choicers’ thereby encouraging poor choice making>.

Organizations, to be more efficient & effective, should drive choices <all> to the select few good ‘choicers’ AND incorporate some selective patience amid its haste.

Look.

All I am suggesting is that some people are really good at making ‘hastier choices.’ They have that mental clarity that actually improves in hasty moments and the maturity to slow down the moment and say ‘let’s not be so quick to make haste’ <and actually be right about it>. But not everyone is like this.

And, in fact, they are a minority. I imagine the optimal world would be to funnel all choices through this minority. Imagine being the key word because that is an imaginary world. We couldn’t do it.

If your life, or your business, has one or two of these people use them, preserve them, foster them and trust them <you will go farther faster than you ever imagined>.

If you do not have the luxury of having one of them around <which by the way you have to learn to manage speed & patience, i.e., master festina lente.

Look.

I don’t like hasty decisions. And decision making has no formula with regard to hasty patience decision making because errors can result from deciding too quickly or by delaying too long.

Too quickly and … well … a decision can be killed in so many ways your head can spin.

Too slowly <too patient> … well … at least by delaying you can watch everything unfold as you watch the decision’s life slowly unravel in the form of lost opportunities or lost <or reduced> benefit from a quicker decision.

Making decisions is difficult, okay, making good decisions is difficult <because anyone can make a decision>. And it does take some experience to become more adept at making decisions especially in a time constrained situation.

Experience is important, and necessary in my view, because effective hasty patience is all about sifting through all the choices available.

Too fast and you die.

Too slow and you die.

That said. Here is what we do know. No one will get this right all the time therefore having a distinct brand with a bold, vivid stance in the marketplace creates bridges. Bridges which can keep you from falling into a crevasse on a bad decision and speed you across a crevasse with a good decision. It guarantees velocity as well as increases the odds of survival to have velocity another day.

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Written by Bruce