Sunday, May 14, 2006

Curious about Speed: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

How speedy are you? Is speed important to you? Should it be?

The following two successful business people agree:

“The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang.” - Mary Kay Ash
“The speed of the boss is the speed of the team.” - Lee Iacocca

Another business leader who finds speed to be important is Michael Masterson of the Early to Rise e-newsletter. As a matter of fact, it was in a recent issue where Masterson was writing about speed and excellence that I got the idea for this blog’s topic. He admitted how important speed is to him. Excellence is also important, but without speed it won’t sustain a business.

I can relate to that completely. I have always moved fast, talked fast, worked fast, driven fast, and responded to phone messages and e-mails fast. As a webmaster I am also known to be fast to update clients’ websites when sent a maintenance request. And, the sites I design are developed with speed of download time in mind, consideration and execution.

Because everything seems to be moving toward more and more speed today, we do need, however, to be reminded to slow down and take the extra time to enjoy life, think/plan more and produce quality. The beginning of this year, I experienced a bad fall which led to a hip fracture, surgery and seven weeks of no driving or putting weight on that leg. Talk about moving slowly - everything took twice the usual time. I was forced to slow down, reconsider my frenetic life style, strategize my business and marketing goals - and relax.

Consider the following quotations that speak to the downsides of speed:
  • “What good is speed if the brain has oozed out on the way.” - St. Jerome
  • “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” - Mohandas Gandhi
  • “The greatest felony in the news business today is to be behind, or to miss a big story. So speed and quantity substitute for thoroughness and quality, for accuracy and context.” - Carl Bernstein
  • “The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.” - Edward R. Murrow
  • “Futurism: This was a movement of intellectuals who wanted to replace tradition with the modern world of machinery, speed, violence, and public relations. It proves that we should be careful what intellectuals wish for, because we might get it.” - Brad Holland

When I looked up quotations using the word “speed” there were many that applied to athletes, but also interesting and thoughtful statements for the rest of us:

  • “When you see a fish you don't think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water... If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest its movement, give a pattern or shape of reality. I want just the flash of its spirit.” - Constantin Brancusi
  • “Speed is scarcely the noblest virtue of graphic composition, but it has its curious rewards. There is a sense of getting somewhere fast, which satisfies a native American urge.” - James Thurber
  • “A well-run restaurant is like a winning baseball team. It makes the most of every crew member's talent and takes advantage of every split-second opportunity to speed up service.” - David Ogilvy (note: having worked in a restaurant for many years, I’ll “second” that!)
  • “Throughout my career I swam for form. Speed came as a result of it.” - Johnny Weissmuller

And, we mustn’t ignore ideas:

  • “It's hard to regulate the speed at which you can achieve something creative and emotional.” - Carol Kane
  • “A meeting moves at the speed of the slowest mind in the room. In other words, all but one participant will be bored, all but one mind underused.” - Dale Dauten
  • “Like stones rolling down hills, fair ideas reach their objectives despite all obstacles and barriers. It may be possible to speed or hinder them, but impossible to stop them.” - Jose Marti

To think about and consider during this upcoming week:

  • “Speed is a great asset; but it's greater when it's combined with quickness - and there's a big difference.” - Ty Cobb
  • “Explore changing your speed one day per week.” - Bill Rodgers
  • “Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” - Charles M. Schulz

How do you feel about “speed?” Send me your thoughts. I love getting your feedback!