Rocket Speed

The speed of change follows the form of the change.

If you form a team of forced conscripts (the voluntold) and give them a vague purpose, you’ve built yourself a horse and buggy.  Top speed: 30-40 miles per hour

If you form a team from the voluntold and give them a compelling purpose, you’ve built yourself an old time steam engine.  They’ll keep moving down the track as far as the leader ordering them forward has laid the track.  Top speed: 110 miles per hour

If you form a team of people interested in an idea, but under-supported and challenged with a modest vision, then you’ve built an economy car.  It gets many miles for every dollar you pour into it, but top speed is 118 miles per hour (assuming you’re in a Ford Fiesta with limited drag).

If you form a team of people who are begging for a chance to work on a change and they have an aspirational purpose (like transforming your organization), then they have formed a rocket ship.  Top speed: 17,500 miles per hour (assuming they’re traveling in a Saturn V rocket)

The danger you have in driving change is that sometimes you will travel so fast that the people you need to watch you will miss you flying by.

If your organization is stuck in the horse and buggy days of change, you will need to  prepare them to see you when you fly by in your rocket.

Take regular pictures of where you are at.  Capture daily or weekly status (progress toward goal or number of plan steps completed) instead of the usual monthly or weekly status.  Change your scale on your chart so it appears similar to the monthly or quarterly graphs the leaders are used to seeing.

Then, create a second chart comparing your daily/weekly progress to another change effort that measured their progress in months, quarters or years.

Only by showing them side by side will leaders of horse and buggy changes begin to see the true power of your change and the way you are doing it.

Let’s drive change, flying forward in our rockets.  Who’s with me?

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