It is a question you are going to hear more of in the future in many, if not all areas of life. Gen X was the want it now generation and today technology allows us to have instant downloads, instant gratification and instant messaging. Gen Y lives as if it was always here. Parents have trouble with text bills with all the major phone carriers due to so many instant messages being sent and received. The Boomers, well, they love their high speed connections, scanning a document and sending a PDF fast versus a bad fax and a crummy copy.
So here is the question: how fast can you learn, develop a strategy and execute? The future depends on our skills of speed. As everything speeds up, people who check their e-mail once a week, or once a day are going to miss big deals, small deals and important threads of communication in between. The luxury of making slow decisions had a time and a place. Today it is has its place for the tough or hard decisions that need lots of time. The decisions that cost a dime or mean firing a de-motivating employee, eliminating a non profitable division can be made fast! How fast?
Multiple field studies show that if you ask 15+ people in a room to put a number to “fast” or “now” or “immediate,” the answers you get range from 1 second to about 24 hours. My favorite is if you ask to have something “tomorrow”, and ask when that is, you will have 15% or more say that it means by 11:59 pm tomorrow.
Winning companies of today and in the future will have a customer service focus of giving numeric precision to when a customer will get something and if they are really good, they will exceed their expectations and it will be sooner. The companies and organizations that are easy to compete with and win customers from are the ones who do not get this, and there are many.
My most recent experience was The Sales by 5 team helping put together an event for my EO chapter at a member’s brand new bar. It had not had an opening yet but the owner told us they were ready. We arrived at 3:30 and the event started at 4:30. At 3:30 the bar chairs were in boxes, there were about 20 workmen doing painting, cleaning the floor and the ice coolers were being put into place. A quick trip to the men’s room found no paper products, soap or trash can, the same for the ladies room. A trip to the bar found that there was enough alcohol for 20 guests versus the 50 we had coming and no tables to serve for the catering company. At 3:35 after 5 minutes of initial shock, the question hit, how fast can we make this happen? Our team using Blackberrys and Blackberry Instant Messenger were ready and in great shape by 4:30! 55 minutes was how fast! At 4:35 anyone who arrived had no idea what we had seen at 3:30. The use of great technology, a great team at the bar and an eye for details can help you execute on the question….HOW FAST?