The Need for Speed


FountainBlue’s July 2 Front Line Managers’ Online meeting was on the topic of ‘The Need for Speed. Our thanks to our panelists for their participation – Ronald Goossens, ASML and Archana Muralidharan, Palo Alto Networks.

Our panelists generously and poignantly shared their thoughts and best practices around hot to be speedy. Below is a summary of their suggestions.

Relationships matter. 

  • Empower and inspire your team to collaborate and share so that together the team is more efficient and effective, while also being better at problem-solving.
  • Be customer-centric and take a cow’s-eye view of the world so that you can better understand and even anticipate the needs of the customer. This way you can more efficiently and effectively deliver to their needs.
  • To build trusted relationships, show up as a Competent person with the Capacity to perform assigned duties, the Transparency to candidly communicate (especially if things don’t go as planned), and the Authenticity to speak directly about your own motivations.

Be Strategic.

  • Although we must be focused on quickly delivering for our customers, we must also ensure that we are consistently in alignment with our corporate mission, vision and values. 
  • In the heat of the moment when you’re trying to do things quickly, focus as much on quality (or even more so) than you would on quantity. 
  • Agilely course-correct when the data shows that your plan is not generating intended results.
  • Balance the time you spend ‘on the dance floor’ tactically delivering and the time you spend on the balcony with a larger, more strategic view.
  • Trust Your Instincts, But Back It Up with reliable, accurate data.

Manage Your Projects and People Well.

  • Focus on the why and the what and let your team figure out the how in terms of processes, timing, format, etc., provided that you deliver quality results within reasonable timelines.
  • Welcome input and feedback and be open to the what and the why of that feedback.
  • Differentiate between the Urgent, the Important and the Must-Have and manage accordingly. 
  • When there’s an urgent matter to address, immediately 1) bring in senior people to fully understand the issues, 2) focus on dealing with the immediate and urgent issue first, 3) understand whether it’s a symptom of a more systemic issue, 4) identify and explore the root cause and the fix for that root cause, and 5) explore the implications of the problem to see if there’s a pattern to be fixed and to minimize similar problems.
  • Be known for consistently under-commit and over-deliver.

Our panelists closed by discussing how a leadership strategy should depend on how urgent and important an issue is.


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