I feel the need for speed…. and a little rest!

Arianna Huffington says the differences between old media and new media come down to three essentials:

  1. Speed
  2. Transparency
  3. Engagement

Since Arianna sold her blogging empire to AOL for US$300 million, we know that she was at least profitable, if not utterly insightful.

She also says “Leadership is about seeing the icebergs before they hit the Titanic”. But Sun Tzu says “to fully exploit foreknowledge you must be able to act with blinding speed”.

Jack Welsh, the former CEO of GE, identified informality, fun and speed as the three characteristics that defined an ideal corporation. His prescription for winning personally was:

  1. Speed
  2. Simplicity, and
  3. Self-confidence

When asked by Harvard Business Review which was more important, he didn’t vacillate. “Speed is everything. It is the indispensable ingredient of competitiveness.”

Since he is known as “the most profitable CEO of all time”, we know that he too, was at least profitable, if not utterly insightful.

What I find really insightful about these two leaders is their methods for achieving speed.

rocket turtle

They rush to do nothing, or at least very little.

Unplugging, resting, simplifying, de-cluttering – getting rid of the excess baggage – doing less is how they achieve speed.

How did Arianna respond when she realised her goal of learning German had remained unstarted, let alone uncompleted? She ditched it as a goal. She took up meditation, naps and digital detoxing.

How did Jack respond when he realised that bureaucracy, formality and management were choking his corporation? He dictated less of all of it.

This reminds me of Genesis 1. The biggest disputes even amongst people who believe the account of creation in Genesis 1 is about how quickly it happened?

To me, God could not have made it clearer that it was all done in 6 days – 6 evenings and 6 mornings.

And then what did God do? He rested.

This is so opposite of “evolutionary” thinking. In evolution, anything can seem possible – if you are prepared to wait for a billion or so years. Revolutionary thinking creates results now, fast!

Tony Robbins in his book “Re-awaken The Giant Within” cites speed as one of the secrets of his success. Whilst other people were speaking once a month, he made it a goal to speak three times a day. Why? So he could get twelve months of experience in 4 days. Sure, he also got twelve months of profit in 4 days, too.

But apart from profit what is so good about speeding up the experience cycle? Nothing really, unless you couple it with taking time out to meditate and reflect on what is working and what isn’t working. When you combine speed with rest, you really can create amazing results. Just ask God. Or a rocket-powered turtle.

This is a great time of year to do a little bit of decluttering. Take a few restful moments to reflect on 2014. What strategies are working for you? Which ones are not? Lay aside some of the unnecessary weights and get ready to run with renewed speed in 2015. It might just be the most profitable thing you do all year.


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