When Does Being Slow and Unsure Pay Off?

by | Jul 26, 2021

Speed is a competitive advantage when you’re learning (or unlearning) and implementing.  Counterintuitively, the reverse applies with strategy. The best strategists are actually slow and unsure. I’m not talking about procrastinating or discounting your intuition. I am saying that mission-critical strategic decisions require disciplined effort.
Processing this idea is hard, because we look up to successful entrepreneurs who are strong-minded and decisive. However, the evidence reveals that business executives who are unsure and slow in making strategy decisions outperform those who are confident and quick.
It makes sense. If you believe you already know the answer, then you’re at risk of being overconfident and making snap judgements
Consultants will often use a project management triangle to help clients see this phenomenon. It works like this: your project can be any two choices of ‘good, quick or cheap’, but it can never be all three. The rule of thumb predicts that a quick and cheap strategy is not going to be good.
Of course, a winning strategy is one that gets implemented.
Too often, carefully crafted strategies end up gathering dust on a bookshelf until a new one is produced. They are often found sitting alongside piles of unused consultants reports and research findings. Or located on expertly designed websites that no one visits.
Leaders who are great at implementation can mistakenly expect that strategy should be quick and sure. Conversely, leaders who are great at strategy can mistakenly expect that implementation will naturally and quickly follow as everyone gets on board.
If you want to tip the balance towards good strategic decisions, then free up the time to do it. And don’t be so sure.
Until next week.

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