Leading Ideas: Don’t Rush

“He who rushes ahead doesn’t go far.” — Lao-Tzu (~500 B.C.E), Tao Te Ching

A distinction I use with my clients is rushing vs. moving quickly. When someone rushes, they shortchange processes. When someone moves quickly, they follow processes – with speed. On the surface, they may look similar. However when you dig deeper you find different values driving each approach. With rushing, speed is valued over quality. With moving quickly, quality is valued over speed. In the latter, if you have to slow down to ensure quality, you’ll do it.


Consider This:

The benefit of rushing is largely an illusion. The advantage it provides in the short term pales in comparison to the long term damage it can do. Rushing undermines critical thinking, dialogue, & learning processes. If unchecked for too long, it significantly decreases individual and organizational capacity to make smart decisions. It becomes OK not to think things through.

Try This:

1. When you feel like you’re rushing too much, stop yourself.
2. Take a few deep breaths.
3. Get clear on whether the rushing is necessary (or even smart).
4. If it isn’t, slow down.
5. Reassess and renegotiate timelines if needed.
6. While going slow can be tough at times, it can save a lot of time and headaches down the road.

Question: What do you do to slow down yourself / your team when it’s necessary?

Doug Sundheim • Executive Coach • New York, NY • •