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Hurry Up and Slow Down: The Executive Dilemma

Hurry Up and Slow Down

Today’s executives are faced with a serious communication and operational dilemma. First, they must encourage organizational urgency and be aggressive to stay competitive in a rapidly changing business environment. This means taking more risks, being nimble and decisive, and demonstrating a bias for action. Second, they must keep the organization focused on executing flawlessly. Flawless execution is necessary to keep workers and surrounding communities safe from harm and to meet customer expectations. Uncontrolled and unmanaged urgency can be the enemy of flawless execution.

Urgency and execution reflect rival values competing for the attention of not just corporate leaders but all of us. There are countless stories of organizations that did not have enough urgency. Some were so resistant to change that they plodded their way to extinction. Others had an inappropriate focus on urgency that led to catastrophic consequences. Excellent leadership decreases the inevitable conflict between the two. The challenge is to achieve the right balance.

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