There are two types of speed: result-speed and task-speed. The teams that don’t understand the difference bristle and revolt when they receive “we must get faster” messages. Their confusion and resistance often stem from confusion: You’re likely not talking about the speed with which they complete tasks. Your focus is on increasing the rate the team delivers targeted results.

Collaborative leaders embrace the responsibility to address this confusion. Consider this:

Task-speed is like the RPM gauge on the dash of a car that shows the revolutions per minute of the engine’s crankshaft and pistons. In other words, it tells you how fast and hard your engine is working. Result-speed is the speedometer, informing you of the distance your vehicle is or will travel in an hour.

As simple as these similes are, too often this mistake is made:

  • The boss tells their team “you must speed up.”
  • The employee looks at their RPM gauge with horror: The needle is buried in the red zone!
  • The employee thinks: “My boss is insane!”

It’s important we’re all aligned on which speed we’re talking about. Plus, increasing result-speed requires equipping team members with another gear – so they can shift up, thereby operating at a more sustainable task-speed.

(Warning: Telling a team to “just work smarter” without empowering them to develop a new gear will lower your status from “insane” to “lunatic.”)

Another gear begins to form when we ask questions like these; What’s the capability we need to develop as a team to become more aligned? More collaborative? More directive? More efficient? More agile? More focused? More centered?

(How fast can your team go?)

P.S. Two leaders with teams that operate at a high result-speed are Candice Long, President of Janssen U.S. Infectious Diseases & Vaccines, and Marti Heckman, VP of Sales, Janssen Biotech. I’m honored to host them on our next Collaborative Leader’s Huddle, Tuesday, Nov 3, at 10 a.m. EST. We’ll be answering the big question: How do you create space for what matters most? I’d love to have you join the unscripted discussion. (It’s free.)

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