Too many startups and scale ups today think that the way to success is by being fast.
Especially, by growing fast.
Speed is king.
You need to be the first to market, even if you do not know what your business model is yet.
“Move fast and break things”
But if you look at making innovation and growth like a scientist would, there is a way of building a business which is much more effective than just speed.
And that is velocity.
Speed is just a measure of how quickly you are moving.
Unfortunately, too many companies, especially startups and scale-ups which are still figuring out what their business model is, think that as long as you are busy, hustling, and doing things fast, that means that you will reach your target faster.
Even if you do not know where your target is.
In reality, you can be moving incredibly quickly, but not actually in the direction of where you should end up.
We have just seen that recently, with a lot of large scale-ups announcing huge rounds of layoffs after they had grown too quickly, employed too many people based on previous growth, without their business results being able to back up the fast increasing costs of these new people as well.
Even worse, it is very common for multiple teams and individuals in the company to be working furiously hard and “fast”, but each in completely different directions. In this case, speed pulling in multiple directions might have the net effect of no forward momentum at all, as all the speeds cancel each other out.
That is why velocity is a better measure.
Velocity = speed + direction
So if your teams are performing with velocity, they not only have speed and are making progress, but they are making progress in the same direction.
Ideally, that direction should align exactly with your corporate strategy, and your innovation strategy should assist in adding value and fuel to increase the speed further. If all teams are pulling in the same direction, overall you will make much more progress.
Not just because each team is working hard, but by being aligned on direction it significantly decreases the administrative issues between multiple teams of finding out why company progress is less than what the hard work of the people should enable.
So take a look at your company, and your teams.
Are they just working fast, to increase their speed?
Or do they all agree on the direction they need to increase their velocity?