Here we find another offering that falls into the category of “a title that grabs you and content that holds you!” You’ve got to admit that this title generates a visual that’s difficult to ignore. However, it doesn’t stop there. The table of contents will undoubtedly encourage you to grab a sandwich and a glass of your favorite beverage as you navigate to a comfortable easy chair with a goal of staying put until you complete every one of the 171 pages before you.
As I read each chapter, I couldn’t help but wonder how the author was going to eclipse his content in the following chapters. I find this especially challenging because Stone Payton chose a subject that can be somewhat delicate to many of today’s business population. “High velocity leadership: it’s all about SPEED” claims this accomplished author, speaker, and consultant. He goes on to say: “Speed is the most consistent and durable source of competitive advantage. Most sources of competitive advantage today—technology, talent, capital, intellectual property, even product superiority—have an incredibly short shelf-life. And when the grease gets hot (yesterday’s advantage becomes today’s norm), organizations can become extremely vulnerable. Specifically, we’re at the mercy of three distinct populations keenly focused on their own survival and prosperity:
- Acutely perceptive employees who ultimately determine the organization’s level of discretionary effort
- Increasingly sophisticated and unforgiving customers
- Faster, more nimble competitors poised to create and fill the next void
- Organizations that consistently meet more needs for more people in less time strengthen their culture, grow their customer base, and dominate their market.
Neglecting speed (failing to incorporate a systematic, deliberate process for increasing the ratio of results to time invested) is like frying bacon in the nude … It might feel good at first, but without the right disciplines in place, we’re dangerously over exposed and very likely to get burned (even permanently scarred) by one or more of these three critically important constituencies.”
Another fascinating aspect of this book lies in the fact that I found very little new information within the content. What I did find was a vast assortment of valuable information aligned in such a way that it suddenly made sense and provided me with a clear cut action plan for succeeding with SPEED. The author himself spelled it out for me as early as page 11 when he pointed out the necessity to remember the “F Word.” That word, of course, is fundamentals, which is what this book is all about. Top performers in every arena, from the basketball court to the boardroom consistently commit themselves to the fundamentals. They religiously apply just a handful of basic principles that give them that slight extra edge. So it should come as no surprise that fast, agile companies—and the people who lead them—exhibit a powerfully simple method of leadership thinking. Specifically, they express, model, and reward five distinct disciplines:
- Personal Accountability
Learn the details and application of each of these disciplines in Part One where you’ll also discover the common characteristics shared by all five. At this point, you have the foundation in hand, and you’re ready for more fundamentals. Learn how to “harness the 7 LAWS OF SPEED,” “refine the 5 SPEED Disciplines,” and “avoid the 15 Common SPEED Traps that destroy momentum.” Before you know it, your sandwich has been reduced to a few crumbs on your plate, your glass is empty, you’re curled up in your chair, your notepad is filled, and your highlighter is empty.
Stone’s personal mission is to help others develop the competence, confidence, and commitment to establish a practical plan for producing Better Results in Less Time … in short, to “Succeed with SPEED.”
(This book review was originally published in 2002 as one of the Top 10 Books – Edition 11.)