There is a big shift that has been coming out in the workplace today and it is a phenomenon that people are starting to assume that speed is perceived as competence. This is not grounded in truth. Today we will show you how to make this emerging phenomenon work for you and help you raise your productive ability in the process.
The ability to manage stopping and starting quickly and efficiently, impacts the speed with which we can be productive and produce awesome results. Having the ability to manage this becomes critical in becoming a productive person.
How much does speed come into play in our perceived competence?
Watch the short video below or continue reading the article to answer this question about how speed is perceived as competence.
People want to do things faster, better, and quicker than their colleagues—quicker than the competitor down the street, and that’s good. That’s a very good intention to have, but speed can also be a double-edged sword. It can be a negative, and it has to be managed. Let me tell you a little story…
The Story of Two Managers
Years ago, I was talking with a very prominent client. At the time, I had two corporate managers in the company that I was managing. We will call them Manager A and Manager B. Beth, my client worked with Manager A for a little while and the portfolio grew. So we had to bring in Manager B to work on some of the other portfolio. We got together for lunch one day, and I said, “Beth, how do you like working with the two guys and how is Manager A doing?” She said, “You know, he’s great. He responds to me instantly. It doesn’t matter whether I email him at 10 o’clock at night. He sends me an email back by 10:10PM and lets me know what’s going on—he’s really great.”
Then I said, “How do you like Manager B?” “Well,” she said, “it took a little while for me to get used to Manager B.” I asked why? “The problem with Manager B is that he would take a day or two to respond back to me and that would just make my toes curl up and it really bothered me because Manager A always got back to me quickly.”
I pressed further and asked, “How are the results?” She responded, “Here’s where the difference is: When Manager B gets back to me, he provides me a full email, a report, maybe some data, a plan, an action plan, a suggestion, some recommendations. It’s a very comprehensive response to what I’m looking for. And I said, “Well, which manager do you prefer?” She said, “You know what? I actually prefer Manager B now because Manager A was all about the short, quick responses.”
Manager A could pull his Blackberry out of his holster quicker than anybody could, and he could fire off a two or three sentence response. But that made her feel acknowledged and taken care of. As I went through this process in working with clients in this area, I recognized the challenge for working with people today is the shift that speed is perceived as competence.
So I’ll just say that again, speed is perceived as competence.
What Are They Saying Behind Your Back?
This is something you can use to your advantage if you’re building your career and you start all of a sudden working on your productive ability. People will start saying these things about you behind your back:
- You know so-and-so (insert your name here), she’s really pouring it on – We should promote her…
- She’s delivering her projects a couple of days earlier – How does she do this?
- She’s just doing a better job and she’s turning things in quicker – What’s different lately?
- When I ask her for something, she has the answer before I’m even done with the question – Massive value adder
Dark Side of Speed is Perceived as Competence
There is a very real and positive side of the productive ability equation and you can enhance that. As being somebody in the corporate world and working with people, you need to watch for this because people that are doing things quickly can fool you into thinking that they’re competent when they’re not.
Going back to Manager A and B, with Manager A and Beth, Beth would say, “Well, Manager A and I would have to spend ten to twelve interactions back and forth to kind of get the whole story,” and make her feel like she had enough data to move forward. Manager B would take a couple of hours or a day or so and then he would send her a very comprehensive, detailed full response. People want the comprehensive, full response. They don’t need a book, but they do need enough information to continue on with the project or make a decision or get things going.
Your opportunity to be more productive and get better results will come down to how you integrate speed as perceived as competence into your work this week going forward.
Samurai Focus Questions
How can you become faster without sacrificing the quality?
How can you be wary of people that are trying to trick you with speed without substance?
Leave us a comment to share your thoughts and experiences where speed is perceived as competence.