For Faster Results, Slow Down


Does this sound familiar? You’re often unmatched at analyzing and zeroing in on the core issues in a situation and setting a course of action. And you can do this very quickly, often in a matter of minutes. You relish driving for results and achieving them efficiently.

This level of competence and self-motivation means you’re probably a high- performer in your workplace. But as I have coached similar clients, I’ve noticed potential pitfalls to being so results-oriented. For example, if you tend to skip straight to a decision without sharing much information about how you arrived at it, your colleagues may misunderstand your rationale and deliver results inconsistent with your intent. Plus, you may be missing out on their valuable insights or deprive your colleagues of the chance to learn from your knowledge and experience.

Here are three simple strategies to ensure that others are on the same page as you before you move forward with decisions.

Connect the dots.

Even if you immediately know what your company’s course of action should be, take a moment to show others how you got from Point A to Point B. What are your criteria for success? What factors did you consider as you evaluated options? What other options did you look at? And what makes your preferred plan the best way to proceed? These points are self-evident to you, but remember that others don’t have your knowledge and experience. Taking even five minutes to educate your colleagues on your thought process will not only help guide their work now but also help them make more consistent decisions later.

Read the room.

You may be excited about getting your plans moving, but before you do, pause to gauge your colleagues’ reaction. What does their body language tell you? Do they look anxious, confused, or frustrated? Look for nonverbal cues so you can determine whether you need to build more buy-in.

Solicit a response.

If people have questions, they’ll ask, right? Well, not necessarily. Because of your expertise, they may feel too intimidated to speak up. Or they might worry about looking foolish, especially if you’re their boss. Take the time to solicit questions and feedback, and confirm for understanding. Remind them that generating ideas is a mutual learning experience and that their input could yield insights that you would have otherwise missed.

Ensuring alignment between you and your colleagues can deliver big payoffs in short-term results and long-term staff development and engagement. The next time you are barreling ahead in your drive for results, slowing down a bit might be the most productive thing you can do. So, which of the three strategies will you focus on this week to get faster results? Remember, small steps can lead to big results.

© 2013 Neena Newberry | All rights reserved.