The power of pace


I recently met with an executive that I'm working with to discuss their standard operating procedures (SOP). His goal was to identify areas of weakness and opportunities for innovation. As we reviewed the SOP I noticed that none of the tasks mentioned how long they expected each step to take. When I asked him about it he responded with "If I push my team to the standard of the best operator, and others can't do it at the same speed, how does that help me? The operators will say that 'you're only trying to make me work faster' and their frustrations will grow." My response to this common concern was that it's not about speed, it's about consistency.

Productivity is about the use of time. When you understand the pace of work, you can better predict the cost of production, it helps leadership plan for the future, and helps the sales team set realistic expectations with your customers. Plus, when teams can work in a consistent manner, it's much easier to identify the broken elements of the process and suggest better ways of doing the work. 

The same is true with project management. If projects aren't moving fast enough or the project isn't creating the expected outcomes, then project sponsors start to ask questions and look for alternative solutions. Without the pace benchmarks, it makes it more difficult for the project manager to work towards those benchmarks and it makes it more difficult for the sponsor to identify solutions during times of crisis.  

Over the past three decades, I've learned that Results = Solutions x Acceptance. You can have a list of solutions you want to implement, but without your team accepting the parameters of the work (i.e. SOP, pace, etc.) you won't see results. Help your teams understand the importance of the change and how they can add value. 

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