This article is part of my Global Leadership series; Insights from more than a decade of leadership training around the world…
Knowing the pace at which you take action as a leader is often as important as the action itself.
Sometimes you need to kick your leadership into high gear, and lead with speed.
Such was the case during a visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when I encountered a most unusual travel experience. It was early morning, and as I awoke in my hotel room, I reasoned that I had just enough time to get in a quick run on the treadmill before heading to the airport for my flight home to Chicago.
Having completed my run, I emerged from the basement-level hotel exercise room and was startled to find myself face to face with an enormous rat coming down the hallway toward me. We managed to sneak past each other, and I made my way back to my room. There, as I always do, I filled in the hotel’s guest survey online before getting ready to check out.
Within 30 minutes, I was seated in the hotel’s guest check-out lounge, when I looked up and saw that the hotel manager was coming over to talk with me. “Mr. Cochrane,” he said quite apologetically, “I have read your guest-survey comments, and want to express our sincere apology for the encounter with the rat in our basement.”
I explained in truth that I was not upset by the encounter with the rodent; I had simply wanted to alert the hotel staff so they could remedy the situation.
But as I made my long journey home, I reflected on this episode and the impact that the speed of the hotel manager’s leadership had made. This went beyond good customer service; this was a prime example of the necessity at times to lead with speed. The hotel could quickly deal with the rodent and hopefully avoid future guest problems.
When should you lead with speed?
When you are facing a crisis,
When you need to build organizational momentum,
When you have completed all due diligence,
When a delay could turn a small problem into a major issue.
Yes, there are times when you can get away with a slower pace of leadership. But develop the ability to know when a faster pace is of the essence.
Because sometimes, you must simply lead with speed.