From virtually every field of endeavor, speed surfaces as one of the most important elements for successfully implementing a strategy. As pointed out, this imperative does not mean reckless or impulsive movement. It does forewarn, however, that once careful and prudent estimates have been made, hesitation and indecision become your enemies.
From a total company viewpoint, and within a global setting, speed impacts a number of managerial, organizational, and competitive issues. Your aim is to move forward immediately to “blunt [your competitor’s] keen edge.” For instance, it affects such areas as
How you organize your company’s or business unit’s pecking order so that your decisions flow smoothly without getting stuck in a maze of managerial layers, which can result in distortions and misinterpretations of what was originally intended
How fast you react to a global competitor oceans away, where his clear-cut aim is to feed off your customers and erode your market position in your local marketplace
How confident you are in your business plan, so that strategies and tactics planned in advance are set in motion in a timely manner—rather than react with hasty, fits-and-starts movements
How and when you launch a new product to gain a competitive edge and secure a favorable share-of-mind position among early adopters
How rapidly you harness the exceptional advantages of the Internet and integrate it into your internal operations, so that the technology impacts favorably on customer solutions
How fast you adopt new systems to foster virtual communications within your organization and along the entire supply-chain
There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.
In sum, Sun Tzu’s sage advice is readily transferable to a competitive confrontation you may face. That is, tardiness would unquestionably affect many of the internal functions of your organization and influence your ability to “stabilize the morale” of your employees. Further, sluggishness, often identified as an ingrained cultural trait of the organization, could (if it exists in your firm) reflect on your managerial style and, in turn, could inhibit your ability to lead under real-time market and competitive conditions. Therefore, you can improve your chances for securing a competitive lead by acting with speed.