Going slow to go fast

Faster has become the unifying mantra across industries and companies, old and new. The accelerating velocity of business drives managers to keep pace. Ever changing technologies and business trends like cloud services, rapid prototyping, and AI enablement impact every corner of business life. Organizations relentlessly search for innovative breakthroughs that reduce cycle time, speed up new product introduction, and increase productivity. Winning the race is getting to market first and then quickly evolving to meet customer desires while simultaneously scaling to keep up with growing demand. But is faster always better?

Cautioning against frenetic activity, Cindy Kent (COO, Everly Health) argues that sometimes “you need to go slow to go fast.” Kent explains that “going slow to go fast,” is taking the time in a project or business venture to make the investments needed to allow the organization to move fast and scale. For example, consider mergers and acquisitions. While it may be tempting to quickly throw two firms together, failing to thoughtfully integrate them could leave the two organizations pulling in different directions. The friction of mismatched processes and cultures hobbles their ability to move fast and achieve synergies. Kent notes that process disconnection, make-due integration, and cultural divergence will make it harder to effectively integrate the businesses later when everyone recognizes that the joint venture can no longer move quickly and scale.

The same challenges hold when trying to achieve business optimization and continuity. Stepping back to ask, “how does work get done?” and then taking the time to design robust processes will help the company move faster as it scales. Kent explains that understanding end-to-end work processes also motivates teammates, allowing them to see how their work contributes to overall business success. Recognizing the value of the individual enhances the dignity of work and motivates everyone towards key business goals.

To hear more from my interview with Cindy Kent (Chief Operating Officer, Everly Health), watch the video below. We discuss the rapid evolution of virtual health care and how leaders can transform the lives of others through simple interactions.

Leadership Notes is a blog and video series on leadership.  Through interviews with leaders from both the private and public sector, Johnson examines key leadership issues like empowerment, team development, and cultural dexterity.  The blog also addresses topics such as learning from failure, the importance of friendship, and the role leaders play in developing organizational culture.

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