Speed Trap

In these fast-moving times, many marketing leaders are under pressure to pick up the pace. But how fast is too fast? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • Scott Brinker celebrated April Fool’s with a joke announcement about his new invention: hyperagile marketing. This bold new movement comes with a rousing motto: GET IT DONE. NOW, DAMN IT!
  • It’s funny because it’s true. Marketing leaders have been told they need to pick up the pace for years now.
  • In fairness, marketing definitely has a history of moving slow, especially in larger organizations. And moving slow feels riskier than ever in 2021.
  • But the point of Brinker’s joke seems to be: speed has its limits.
  • This feels like a point worth making at a time when pandemic-powered burnout is a growing issue.
  • As the name of this newsletter suggests, we’ve long believed in the importance of stepping off the treadmill once in while and engaging in some thoughtful reflection.
  • Why? For one thing, your thinking rate (and the thinking rate of everyone on your team) is fixed. You can’t force yourself to think faster. If you try, you’re likely to end up making much worse decisions.
  • And, as Tom DeMarco points out in his book Slack, it doesn’t matter how many decisions you make if they’re not good ones. In other words, efficient is not the same as effective.
  • So what can a marketing leader do to find the sweet spot between speed and impact? Start by taking aim at “busy culture”, which has been proven to destroy productivity.
  • We like this practical tip: focus on your core contribution—and encourage your team to do the same. This means saying ‘no’ to tasks that don’t align with your primary duties.
  • The best way to evolve beyond busy-for-busy’s-sake is to foster a more strategic mindset, personally and within your team. Put value on outcomes over activity. Establish clear points of focus, then train your team to prioritize by asking “why” and “so what?”
  • According to Stanford psychology professor Patricia Chen, the essence of this strategic mindset is actually quite simple. It’s about asking yourself one question often: “Is there a better way of doing this?”
  • If your pursuit of speed has you and your team teetering on the edge of burnout, the answer to this question is clear.
Issue #115
Apr 4, 2021

Further Reading