Strategic Speed

“Strategic Speed: Mobilize People, Accelerate Execution,” is a leadership book not a strategy book. Through research, illustration, and application, the authors clearly explain that leaders create fast organizations that reduce time-to-value by focusing on three key people factors.

Passionate, misdirected leaders, on the other hand, create slowness and slowness is costly. Research shows that 50% to 70% of all strategic initiatives fail because they aren’t completed in a timely manner. At best, an organization has a 50/50 chance of successfully completing a strategic initiative.

Historically, efforts at reducing time-to-value focused on processes, lean principles, or automation.  During times of abundance process improvement and technological solutions create competitive advantage. However, today’s business climate requires more.

The authors of “Strategic Speed” believe focusing on people makes the difference.

Great organizations are made of great people. For example, an efficient process is a thing of beauty but it’s useless until a person breathes life into it.

Surprisingly, fast organizations don’t focus on speed. They aren’t pressuring people to pick up the pace. However, leaders in fast organizations increase three people-focused speed factors. In other words, speed is a by-product of increasing three conditions.

The three most important strategic speed factors:

Clarity: Shared, clear understanding of your situation and direction

Unity: Wholehearted agreement on the merits of that direction and the need to work together to move ahead

Agility: Willingness to turn and adapt quickly while keeping strategic goals in mind

All three factors are people factors.

In addition, all three speed factors are sequential. Clarity first, unity second, and agility completes the trio.

As a result of reading “Strategic Speed,” I’m asking myself and my organization one important question. What has to change about us, not our programs, in order for us to move forward faster?


Which of the three speed factors do you find most challenging? Why?

How can leaders create clarity, enhance unity, and nurture agility?


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