Article by: MaryEllen | Monday, August 4, 2014

By MaryEllen Tribby

It still rings loudly in my ears today almost 35 years later. I had a professor in college that told me I was going to be very disappointed in life.

When I inquired “Why?” he simply said that I move too fast. He alleged that most people would not be able to keep up with me therefore causing a life full of frustration and disappointment.

car-1174282-mWell, he was right – to a point. Many people cannot keep up with my pace in business. And yes, this used to be a constant source of frustration. But over the years I have learned that I need to surround myself with the right people. These are the people that have the same speed infliction that I do. The kind of people who believe the quote, “Money Loves Speed.”

And as you know, I have studied and worked with some pretty incredible people in my life. One of whom is my friend Bill Bartmann. If you know anything about Bill, you most likely know that at one point Bill was the 25th wealthiest person in America. Yes, think about that for a second. What would it take to become the 25th wealthiest person in the United States of America?

I don’t have all the answers to that question, but one thing I know for sure is that it would take desire for SPEED!

So today I want to share Bill’s six principles for harnessing speed in such a way that you reach your business destination and don’t wrap yourself around a pole before you get there.

Six Speedy Principles to Live By

1.  Know why you’re moving fast.
It’s not good enough to say you want to move fast in business because you simply “live life in the fast lane.”  That’s a romantic image but the most successful businesspeople follow cold, rational strategy instead of macho images.

Wayne Gretzky became the greatest-ever hockey player by seeing not where the puck was, but where it was going to be. You have to have a clear picture of where you see your business and the impact that will have.

2.  Don’t expect a decent map.
Maybe you can see where you want to go, but for the life of you, what if you can’t make out the path to get you there?

Start by stringing together a series of “what if” statements.  This will allow you and your team to put aside the “how it’s always been done” thinking and allow you to string together possible or even improbable elements. Speed will permit you to test these avenues quickly and find the best path.

3.  Accept roughness.
Engineers tell their clients that they can have any two of the following: Fast, cheap, or good.  That principle is true in the non-engineering world, too.  When really going for speed, make it clear that you would much rather see a very rough draft this afternoon than a perfect presentation a week from Wednesday.

4.  Explain yourself.
You may be mentally prepared for the speed you need, but your staff may not be. After all, you see the big picture and have the most invested in the outcome. At the same time you’ll get to your destination faster if you have the willing energy and creativity of your larger team.

5.  Lighten the load.
We all have long lists of projects, and we like to think that we’re more or less at capacity.  The problem is that dropping a big project into the fast lane can mean diverting lots of focus and resources.  Don’t make the mistake of just adding that new project on top of everything else.  It’s your responsibility to determine what gets delayed or dropped in the interest of that new focus.

6.  Regularly put energy back into the system.
If you don’t keep pedaling hard, the whole apparatus has a way of bogging down.  Be on the lookout for what Seth Godin calls “The Dip”, where the novelty has worn off the project, the objective is not yet in your grasp, and hard slogging has set in.

If the goal is still worthy, then re-commit yourself to it and start back at the top of this list for the actions you need to take yet again-such as accepting roughness, explaining yourself, and so on.

When you do reach your goal, be sure to take your foot off the gas long enough so your organization can regenerate and also enjoy the new, higher vistas.  It will enable you to do it once more, the next time a worthy goal rears its head.