The Delicate Nature of Business Velocity and Its Components
The word “velocity” is not one I often hear associated with business. It is more of a physics term describing the rate at which an object is traveling in a certain direction. I think it fits nicely into the business vernacular, however, because it speaks to how rapidly we are achieving our goals. Let me explain.
Velocity has two elements, direction and speed. In a business, direction comes from leadership, and speed comes from people and the systems they use.
As you well know, these three components…leadership, people, and systems…are very delicate. They can be in good working condition one day and off track the next. Like a high performance race car, they need constant care and maintenance so they can work in unison and enable a company to perform at its best.
You can think of your business velocity as a measure of the health of your business, a holistic metric telling you how well all the components are working together to take you toward your desired goals.
Managing Business Velocity…a Leadership Art Form
One of the art forms of leadership is the ability to keep each of the three components healthy and performing at high levels. The best CEOs understand that their main job is less about accomplishing “x, y, z” tasks and more about constantly fine tuning each of these components.
I refer to this is an art form because it entails the ability to set long and short-term vision, coach and develop high performers, formulate ever-changing talent requirements, develop systems that provide outstanding customer experiences, and align different work groups around the direction of the business.
Two Artist’s Experience Creating Velocity
Several years ago my wife and I started a preschool while I was working my corporate job. We had good long-term vision but were not yet experienced enough in the industry to know how to hire the best employees and create good systems. As we matured as leaders and were better equipped to set direction we started hiring great people who then helped us build strong, customer and employee pleasing business systems. As a result, our business velocity increased dramatically.
Velocity is a holistic metric you should measure periodically to assess your alignment with your goals as well as the timing of their achievement. Below are five challenge questions to help you begin measuring the velocity of your business.
- What is your long and short-term direction? How clear is it in your mind?
- How well do your employees know that direction and are you convinced they are working toward it?
- What are your critical business systems and processes, and how frequently do you audit and challenge them?
- Do you know for sure that you have the right people in the right jobs doing the right things? How are your talent needs changing?
- Which of the three business components is providing the most fuel for your velocity, and which is causing the most drag?
Scott McClymonds blends strategy, insights, and execution to help CEOs think faster, lead better, and win bigger. He is an expert at creating business velocity and converting hidden profitability into real profits. Scott can be reached at 479.263.0774, [email protected], linkedin.com/in/scottmcclymonds, or @ScottMcClymonds.