Sometimes You Need to Go Slow to Go Fast

Sometimes You Need to Go Slow to Go Fast

We have all heard the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.  The race between the two animals was a guaranteed win for the rabbit.  After all, it had the strength, agility, and speed that outmatched the slow, lumbering turtle.  We also know how the story ends.  The hare, with all its talents, let overconfidence get in the way and ended up losing to the tortoise.  Slow and steady wins the race.

I find a lot of businesses wish to play the part of the hare.  Speed is sexy.  Hell, there’s even a magazine called Fast Company.  We love speed.  We are addicted to it.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.  I didn’t name by book Go Far, Go Fast! for nothing.  While the rapid growth businesses get all the headlines, it is often the focused and methodical that stick around for the long haul.  Again, slow and steady wins the race.

There is a little secret to all this. Building a company that can withstand rapid growth requires more than the ability to move quickly.  Yet we live in a ‘NOW!’ society.  Technology allows us the ability to access information in a matter of seconds or minutes instead of hours or days.  Want a new pair of shoes?  They will be at your door tomorrow, and probably with free shipping.  See, we are addicted to speed.  Many business owners have achieved almost a junky status.  More than one client wants results and they want them NOW!  Sometimes it’s through desperation.  Other times it’s through inspiration.  What still remains is the desire to get further, faster without putting in the necessary work.  This often results in the exact opposite effect.  Mistakes, false starts, inexperience, and poor decision making delay the process.  Sometimes that addiction to speed even kills the business.

The secret to rapid growth isn’t in the rabbit.  Its traits lie in the turtle.  Building companies with accelerated income potential requires planning and patience along with the ability to act when needed.  If you want to amp up your income, you may wish to practice the following steps:


  • Vision: The quickest way to get to your destination is to know where you are going.  That is true for everyone on your team.  You might be surprised at the number of people in any given organization that have no clue what the Vision is or how they contribute to it.  Result: Confusion
  • Skills: So you want to be the largest company in your industry?  Great!  Do you have the talent to get you there?  Warm bodies that can fog a mirror isn’t enough.  However most companies choose to settle instead of creating an environment where the best want to be.  A shortage of talent limits results.  Result: Anxiety
  • Incentives: What’s my motivation Mr. Demille?  One client said it best, “People will perform better when there’s skin in the game.”  Most companies limit incentives or they don’t tie the reward to the actions of the individual.  People want purpose.  They want recognition for their performance.  Expecting more without the reward leaves you spinning your wheels.  Result: Resistance
  • Resources: One of my favorite scenes in the movie Apollo 13 is when the engineers had to solve the problem with too much CO2 in the cabin.  the Limb and the Module were designed by different companies and as a result required different filters to scrub the air.  Without the right resources the astronauts would have died.  This time the resource needed was the knowledge of some pretty smart people who had to make a square peg fit in a round hole.  When you are lacking in the necessary resources your team will be unable to perform at the levels needed.  Result: Frustration
  • Action Plan: Seems obvious, doesn’t it?  Without a plan of action no forward momentum can be created.  Yet I’ve seen too many businesses, and too many leaders, fail to act.  They don’t act because they lack a clear plan for what needs to be done.  The best symptom of this is Death by Meeting. This is scheduling meetings to have more meetings to schedule more meetings and so on.  Busy does not equal productivity.  Missing an action plan is a common symptom.  Result: Treadmill

So if you want to move fast then take a step back.  Make it a point today to take a breath and review what potential obstacles may be slowing you down. What outcomes are you getting?  What’s missing? Rapid growth is attainable.  You may just need to apply more turtle attributes to boost growth.

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Dan Paulson is a speaker, author, coach, and founder of Go Far, Go Fast! His company helps business owners break the monotony that hinders growth and creates dysfunction. He can be reached by visiting, or