In today’s professional world, there is often conflict between quantity and quality. Businesses want leaders and employees to keep up with today’s ever more rapid rate of change, but research suggests that keeping pace often comes at the price of producing quality work. Nevertheless, research also reveals that it is indeed possible to work both fast and well, producing quality results briskly. A study of 75,000 leaders identified seven unique traits that need to be present to merge these often contradictory goals.
1. They Provide Clear Strategic Perspective
Leaders capable of producing quality work at high speed are absolutely clear on their vision and the direction of their organization. Not only are they themselves able to take this broad, long-term view, they are also effective at communicating their perspective so that their overall strategy can be subcategorized into specific objectives and meaningful goals. Their ability to draw a clear map helps them and others stay on-task, eliminating the ample time wasting that happens when employees get lost without a roadmap of their objectives.
2. They Communicate in a Clear + Assertive Manner
People need to stay informed about milestones, challenges, and so on. Quality and speed increase when everyone is on the same page by having an understanding of where the project stands and what problems still need to be solved. In contrast, confusion slows work down and leads to errors.
3. Maintain High Standards and Set ‘Stretch Goals’
When a leader sets high standards, team members learn exactly what quality work is supposed to look like. These standards, combined with stretch goals, which tend to increase speed, help people work better and faster. Stretch Goals also help people stay on task and accomplish more over the long run, versus when people simply stay busy in the moment but accomplish less overall. They also inspire people to increase their effort.
4. They Motivate and Inspire Others
These leaders inspire others by allowing them to share in their mission. Their commitment and desire for accomplishment inspires others to strive toward the same characteristics, thereby helping to improve the quality and speed of their work product. Team members are also made to feel essential. In contrast, uninspiring leaders are perceived by their teams as individuals who merely come to work to collect their paycheck.
5. They Don’t Fear Change
Speedy leaders who produce high-quality work champion change. They excel at marketing, programs, or products. In contrast, slow leaders who produce low-quality work are resistant to change.
6. They Innovate
Change is part of innovation, and these leaders are all about it. They constantly look for faster, fresher, better, and more efficient ways in which to deliver their work product because they recognize that traditional or standard procedures often make it impossible for them to produce the quality they want at the speed they are comfortable with. The innovations they develop often let them seamlessly marry quality with speed.
7. They Consider Outside Perspectives
These leaders do not let themselves get bogged down with their organization’s internal concerns and problems, which tend to divert attention from big environmental shifts in consumer preferences and can lead to speed reductions as well as quality problems. Instead, they are skilled at focusing their attention outside the organization so that they can continue to identify changing trends and mindsets with enough advanced time to adapt their organization’s strategy.