Go Slow to Go Fast

I have a phrase I like to use whenever I get the sense that a project or an idea has started to move too quickly for its own good: You’ve got to go slow to go fast.

I didn’t make it up (though I wish I had). Rather, it comes from auto racing. The idea is that you pick up speed coming out of a turn, but only if you set up the exit by going in slow. If you hit the turn too fast, you’re as likely to wreck as you are to come out at all.

It’s dangerous to stretch a metaphor too far, especially in business. But this one works.

If you’re in a race, it seems only logical that speed is good. And that’s true to a point. But speed is only good when you can control it. And control sometimes means knowing when to take a step back.

It’s great that we’re able to develop, ship, and deliver more quickly than ever before, but we’re often doing so at risk of losing good fundamentals.

At Orange Element, we always seek to anchor our projects to a strong foundation. We like to fully understand a project’s strategic position and ultimate purpose, because we can use those things to evaluate and measure our output.

That means we often find ourselves remembering to ask, “What is the goal? Have we challenged our work enough against that goal? Is there anything here that’s working at cross-purposes with our strategy?”

By slowing down this way — by taking a small amount of extra time to ensure good understanding of fundamentals and good alignment of all our efforts — we end up able to move much faster when it comes time to implement.

You’ve got to go slow to go fast. It isn’t always easy to remember, but it always pays off.