Although there are many times when you should go slowly, there are also times when you need to accelerate a project or situation more quickly. Ever been stuck behind someone driving way too slowly on the highway, or plodding along in the hallway of an office building? It’s agonizing. You just want to leap over them like a pole vaulter in the Olympics.
Taking Leaps in Logic
Just like having to virtually crawl behind the person walking a snail’s pace through the cubicle alleyways in your office, being stuck in a meeting where the other attendees’ minds seemed lethargic and sloth-like can be both mind numbing and aggravating at the same time.
The have a “2” and they are presented with another “2”, but no one seems to be able to realize that we’re trying to get to the answer of “4”. Their minds are meandering without a clear direction of where they want to go (like when they’re walking down that hallway — probably on their way to this very meeting).
If you want people to take leaps, build them ramps
Sometimes people need to know they are expected (even encouraged) to take leaps. Many jobs (and their managers) want the employees to simply toe the line — they want everyone in alignment and pointed in the same direction and all moving at the same pace (sloooowly).
If you want your team to know it’s acceptable to make more efficient leaps in logic, to find secret shortcuts, and to use a calculator to make things add-up more quickly than counting on their fingers and toes, give them the tools (and the permission) to do so.
Ask them if they lack any resources that would help them leap further, faster. Provide them training and equipment that illustrate your interest in helping them make more progress more quickly.
Don’t let the slowest person in your organization set the pace (no matter who it is).
I once worked in a traditional industry that was under threat from emerging technology. The old and new ways were soon coming to a head and the old-timers were either going to have to adapt or die. Unfortunately, the company strategy on this situation originating from the top-floor-corner-office where the “leader” would be retiring soon was “if can keep our heads down, we might not have to deal with any of this and it will become the next guy’s problem”. That plodding example made it’s way down to the sales team where it became apparent that any uncomfortable new ideas would be nixed in favor of the-way-we-always-do-things.
Being stuck behind all those slow-moving minds had many of the more creative people leaping over to a competitor rather than being bound to the slack and apathetic leadership of their current company.
Think back to being stuck behind that slow car on the highway.
You’re rarely stuck behind THE slow car — here are usually five or six more cars in front of that person moving just as slow. As a matter of fact, if you get a chance to change lanes and zip up past the row of cars to the very front of the traffic jam you may finally see the (snail’s) pace car. There’s nothing you can see slowing that driver down. They just decided to get in the 70 MPH passing lane and go 35 MPH.
The cause of the problem is then identified as the entire lane of cars allowed their progress to be set by the slowest moving vehicle and no one knows why — they’re just stuck behind the slowest person in the room and wishing they could find an exit ramp to make the leap out of this traffic jam.