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The 20 Key Components Of Organizational

Speed
From Talent Management and HR

Once you accept the premise that speed is an essential characteristic in business, it is only logical
to begin assessing which elements of an organization need to move significantly faster and
precisely how fast each one needs to be.

Organizations are complex, so they have many components and each one of those components
must be designed and measured for speed.

The 20 components of speedy organizations
If your organization decides that it needs to increase its organizational speed to match that of its
business environment, here are some of the areas that must be fast.

1. A culture of speed is required — Rather than a piecemeal approach, the most effective
strategic solution for increasing speed across the organization is the development of a
“culture of speed.” Just like any other type of corporate culture, a speed culture permeates
every department and business process including hiring, production, product development,
finance, decision-making and logistics. In order to maintain speed in a speed culture, every
new program, idea, product, process, etc. must be evaluated for its positive or negative
impact on organizational speed.
2. Organizational speed must be defined, measured, rewarded. Measurement is critical
for improvement. The overall speed of an organization can be measured based on how fast
(in weeks) after it identifies a major change or problem in the environment that it
successfully plans and funds its response. Fast-moving organizations start by closely
monitoring their environment and then rapidly responding to any new technologies,
actions by their competitors, new laws/regulations, changes in economic factors, and
changing customer and market forces. All speed related failures must be analyzed in order
to determine and then fix the factors that contributed to the increased reaction
time. Obviously employees and managers that move fast and accurately must be both
recognized and rewarded.
3. Innovation is closely related to speed. There has to be a reason for moving fast and one
of the primary ones is the need for innovation. Because innovation may have up to 10
times more economic impact than a focus on productivity and efficiency, the rate of
innovation as well as the speed of innovation must be monitored and continually
improved.
4. The speed of collaboration is important — Collaboration between employees from
different teams is an essential component of innovation. As a result, the frequency and the
length of collaboration interactions must be increased.

hired. tools. and trained on their ability to make fast but accurate decisions. And at the same time. highly innovative. react. 10. it is almost impossible to be global. retention. Clearly managers and leaders need to be selected based on their capability of moving fast. Google research has identified “learning ability” as the key competency in their hiring. 6. The speed of sharing is also important — Once an organization’s employees learn about new information or best practices. Drug maker GSK actually improved decision-making speed by 45 percent merely through the redesign of its office space. there must be a process to ensure that their information is rapidly shared throughout the organization. the internal movement of employees must be sped up so that talent can be quickly redeployed to areas within the organization where it can produce a higher rate of return. and as a result they are usually familiar with the most effective tools and approaches for increasing speed in their processes and their employees. Process and program leaders must constantly search for new software and hardware that can enable both faster speed and higher quality.5. 8. Technology is essential for speed – In today’s world. and fast without the extensive use of technology. Fast employees and the jobs that require a fast employee must be prioritized in the recruiting. and redeployment processes. In addition. and solutions. and social media platforms can all be used to speed up best practice sharing. forums. Firms must be fast in adding and releasing talent capabilities – Organizations must be able to rapidly increase their talent capabilities through fast hiring. The time that it takes for the entire organization to eventually learn about a new practice or solution should be measured to ensure that it is continually getting faster. and learn faster than others. In fact. because unfortunately a single slow employee like “Homer Simpson” in a team can permanently reduce everyone’s speed. Organizations must develop processes for identifying and then learning about this new information. 7. Wikis. 12. You must identify barriers to speed — Just like PCs. organizations must learn rapidly immediately after new knowledge and information appears. The rare “fast manager” and leader does understand the process for increasing speed. Rapid but accurate decision-making is critical — Unfortunately few realize the importance of fast decision-making in a fast-moving organization. Unfortunately. As a result. Leaders need to vigorously recruit only those who can operate successfully in a fast environment. there should be a formal survey . low-cost. 9. Fast managers are also needed – you must be a fast manager in order to manage fast employees. answers. Decision-makers must be assessed. 11. think. Fast employees are needed — Some individuals act. Learning speed is critical – In a fast-moving world. Leaders must also assume when new technology or tools are implemented that each will eventually become obsolete. a process for finding a replacement before the obsolescent date must be included in the implementation plan. To avoid a reduction in speed. even the best designed processes and approaches tend to slow down over time. not all managers and leaders are adept at moving fast and at making fast and accurate decisions. they must also be able to rapidly reduce labor costs during slow business times by releasing contingent workers.

15. many organizational elements will either slow down or they will fail completely in matching the speed of change of the organization. In a fast-moving world. there must be metrics for measuring the speed of each important corporate process. because customers have learned to expect both speed and quality. YouTube instructional videos. and webpages to help employees and managers learn how to think and act faster. Provide benchmark comparison numbers for speed — Decision-makers must be provided with comparison numbers both from within and outside your firm so that they can accurately assess how they rate on speed within your firm and in your industry. 16. The training and development function must develop courses. Processes must be built for speed – All business processes must be continually assessed for speed. tools. “Want to achieve extraordinary results? … Set unreasonable timetables!” — John Patrick. 17. That means that there must be a conscious effort to identify and quickly jettison processes. This integration is necessary to ensure smooth and fast handoffs between functions and to ensure that roadblocks to speed are quickly identified and eliminated. 20. and processes can spur internal competition while also allowing the slowest to learn from the fastest. Train employees to be fast – Some employees are slow simply because they’ve never been trained on how to act fast. 14. Those that fall behind must be redesigned and all new processes must include the essential design components for speed. By teaching them how to take simultaneous or parallel actions. processes must also have a Just-in-time capability to handle sudden and fast arriving situations. educational materials. You must cut approvals for speed – Requiring excessive approvals not only hampers speed but it also frustrates innovators. Anything that is “slow” must be jettisoned – With age and use. 19. As a result.” all employees must be educated on the value of speed and each employee should subsequently accept ownership of their role in continually improving speed and innovation. For example. one step is completed before the next step is executed).e. In the same light. Distributing “speed reports” can help – Widely distributing ranked reports demonstrating the differentials in speed between the different departments. managers. Incidentally quality must also be measured. and programs that slow down the organization’s speed. You must measure your speed — You can’t improve something that you don’t measure. tool that allows managers to periodically identify any current “barriers to speed. Processes must be integrated – Interrelated processes that are dependent on each other must be either coordinated or completely integrated if speed goals are to be achieved. employees can do more high quality work in less time. former IBM strategist. . 18. employees who lose their capability for speed must also be rapidly identified and then fixed or released.” In a “culture of speed. you must dramatically reduce the time required for getting them. most employees do their tasks in a linear way (i. 13. Where approvals cannot be eliminated.

you essentially turn a negative into a positive. your organization must master organizational speed and become a “fast company. From the competitive standpoint. if you want to remain employable throughout your career. In the area of people management. leaders are just beginning to realize they can make a major contribution toward increasing organizational speed.Final Thoughts In the business world. . you have no choice but to continually work to improve your own capability for speed. speed is everywhere. But it’s equally important to realize that if you can learn rapidly from each of those talent related mistakes. if you want to be an industry leader and remain highly profitable. Yet despite the initial progress. so products like mobile phones and computer chips now become obsolete in less than 12 months.” And as an individual employee you must also realize that. there are still naysayers in talent that worry that moving fast will increase errors and mistakes.