The late John Wooden used to regularly coach his team to “be quick but don’t hurry”. Though he emphasized speed, balance was equally important. This truth translates very well into business today. Companies that can respond quickly to changes in the marketplace within the business’ core competencies will win. Conversely, businesses that “hurry” will demonstrate incredible activity with very little achievement.
How quick are decisions made within your organization? Do you suffer from endless data gathering and analysis paralysis? Often a quick “no” is better than a long “maybe”.
“Quick” organizations keep it simple. One such example many are familiar with these days is the University of Oregon Football team. The speed of the offense is like nothing college football has ever seen before. The core of the offense is very simple, but its flexibility to quickly respond to the defense is one major reason the offense is so potent. John Wooden’s UCLA high post offense was very simple at its core, but executed to perfection and others couldn’t stop it.
Herb Kellerher (retired Southwest Airlines CEO) had a simple vision statement for his organization, “to become the low cost leader amongst the airlines”. In a famous story, his executives began to debate about serving chicken salads to travelers inflight. When Herb walked into the room and overheard the debate he asked one simple question, “does serving chicken salad inflight help Southwest Airlines become the low cost leader amongst the airlines?” That simple question helped speed up the decision making process for Southwest Airlines. Does your team have a clear vision statement to guide their day to day decisions?