Faster is Safer

Anyone who learned to ride a bike as a child knows how difficult and painful the first attempts can be. Whoever taught you kept yelling, “Pedal faster,” but you knew that couldn’t be right. It feels wrong. How could faster be safer? Pedaling faster is scary. Pedaling faster means a harder fall. Eventually, though, we figure it out and some even learn the physics behind it: pedaling faster makes you dynamically stable because of the gyroscopic effect, which reduces your risk of falling and makes it easier to turn.

This lesson is just as important to organizations and how they sell their products and services. To reduce your risk of failure, you’ve got to pedal faster – especially in the digital, disruption-filled world of the 21st century. The biggest mistake an organization can make is to pursue digital transformation slowly, just like that child who is afraid to fall. Everyone already knows change is hard. If change is also dangerous, then some figure the best course of action is to ‘manage’ the danger and move slowly. They behave just like a first-time bike rider. If slow and steady will not win the race, then change is something to be embraced and sticking to the strategy of slow and steady will result in an organization that falls further and further behind.

It used to be true that companies could study trends, put out RFIs, release RFPs, examine industries for clues as to what the future might hold, and maybe even aspire to be a ‘fast follower,’ but today’s world is different. It is very hard to know your path over the next five years because the capabilities you will use in three to five years have not been invented yet. The time required from concept to pilot to scaled deployment is getting shorter every year, and the most successful organizations are learning that product selection is less important than process adoption. The secret is a commitment to pedaling faster.

Commit an organization to accelerating change – pedaling faster – and leaders will create a sense of urgency that sellers will harness. You simply aren’t helping your client by going slowly. No risk is being mitigated and no disaster is being avoided. Instead, you need to find something to do for your clients that makes a difference right now. Experiment. When it succeeds, do it at scale. When it the experiment doesn’t get the results you want, bail, and try something new. Whatever you do, you must keep pedaling. Pedaling faster keeps us moving forward and faster is safer.

This article was originally published by Vic Romita in April 2019. Vic is the President and CEO of Romita Solutions LLC. Romita Solutions LLC helps your company build trusted business relationships with your clients by developing sellers and sales leaders capable of solving critical client business problems yielding better business results. Follow him on Twitter @VicRomita.
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