How Katie Westernetz Went Slow to Go Very Fast
What do job seekers, sales professionals, athletes, managers, HR professionals, accountants, physicians, and health coaches all have in common? To be really, really effective at what they do, they must adeptly manage their actions in response to the speed demands of their jobs. Today’s society seems to press everyone for more speed to get things done faster. Masters of the Go Slow to Go Fast Principle have learned that the only way they can ever successfully sustain speed and quality in executing their job is through intentionally planning their “go slow time.”
- Can the physician perform emergency surgery to save a life if he or she didn’t first put in hours of “go slow” work studying procedures, practicing techniques, and learning to anticipate outcomes?
- Can the job seeker be effective in landing his or her dream job if he or she never invested many hours of “go slow” work by relentlessly developing an effective network?
- Can an executive have the trust and willing followership needed to launch a new venture without having spent hours of “Go Slow” time, developing relationships while learning the skills and limitations of the team charged with making it happen?
A Go Slow to Go Fast Case Study: Un-stalling a Promising Executive Career
Take the situation faced by one of my clients, a brilliant logistics executive working for a multinational manufacturer. Let’s call her Katie Westernetz. CEO Bill Smith hired Katie because of her unique set of talents and lightning-fast mind. She had an impressive track record of rapidly identifying business issues, their causes and organizational impact, and always had outside-the-box approaches for remedying them. The rub was that most of the people who worked with her felt intimidated by how she seemingly eviscerated their ideas in departmental meetings, or her tendency to publically suggest ways to “fix” problem areas in their departments. While Katie saw her role as “helping to speed things along,” her peers saw her as both creative in her ideas but an impediment in her approach, so they complained to Bill Smith.
Bill and Katie met to discuss things, and Katie was not at all surprised to learn she was frustrating her co-workers. She said the same thing had happened in previous positions she held. She told Bill how discouraged she was whenever she saw the company taking too long to address an issue.
While Bill loved the critical thinking Katie brought to the company, he wasn’t sure that the drama that seemed to follow her was worth it.
How Katie Went Slow
I urged Katie to take the following “Go Slow” actions over the next 90 days:
1. Stop offering drive-by suggestions and critiques of the plans or performances of other department heads in meetings. Instead, listen to what others had to say without editorializing.
2. Privately meet with each peer and offer a sincere apology for having placed him/her on the spot in past meetings. Commit to work cooperatively from this point forward.
3. As a key step to rebuilt trust, invest in quality one-on-one time with each peer getting to know him or her better. Let him/her do most of the talking about the issues most important to him or her.
4. In a low key manner, ask peers “please help me understand” questions. For example, “Janice, would you please help me see from your perspective what you see as the key issues?”
5. When you have an idea or suggestion, go to the peer privately and ask if you can share an idea with them. Never spring an idea on him or her in public. Ask for their feedback and listen.
How Katie Got to Go Very Fast
Once she had re-established trust and built a solid professional relationship with her peers, her peers began seeking her input and feedback on the topics they planned to bring up in the next meeting. Likewise, she began vetting her ideas with them. Because of this pre-meeting collaboration, when it came time to discuss ideas in the meetings, an idea’s discussion and adoption were often completed in the same session.
Within six months Katie’s peers had all shared examples with the CEO of how Katie helped them to be more effective with their ideas. Both the speed and quality of decision making improved.
Are there areas of your career where you could apply the Go Slow to Go Fast Principle?
This post is based on the application of principles taught in my course, Leading Through People 30 – Counterintuitive Principles to Ignite Passion & Effectiveness.
I love working with people and organizations who want to improve their effectiveness! Here are several outstanding resources that can help you and your organization to go to the next level:
- Raising your (or your team’s) selling effectiveness: B2B Sales Essentials™ (among the 30 courses we offer is one on selling with emotional intelligence!)
- Improving your (or your team’s) management and leadership skills: Leading Through People™
- Conducting a more effective job search: Get a Better Job Faster™
I work with some of the world’s top employers by helping them get the most out of their talented people. My company’s extensive leadership development course catalog provides effective skills-building for everyone in the organization, from the new / developing leader to the seasoned C-level executive. My company’s coaching programs produce significant results in compressed periods of time. I also help job seekers, higher ed, and employment services connect people to better jobs faster. My company’s acclaimed career development tools help people navigate the ever-changing landscape of conducting a successful job search. To find out more, please visit us at www.boyermanagement.com, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 215-942-0982.