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Lead with Speed: Fire Up Your Team, Power Your Engines of Development, and Make Your Organization Soar

Lead with Speed: Fire Up Your Team, Power Your Engines of Development, and Make Your Organization Soar

by Alan Willett


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The speed of the business is the speed of the leader. It’s time to up your game.

One of the most important questions a leader can ask themselves is: “How do I get my teams, my organization to move faster?”

That is the challenge that all leaders face. This challenge grows more intense every day. Lead with Speed is the answer. This problem of speed is often disguised by other symptoms, such as “my projects cannot make an accurate prediction of when they will be done” or the stated need of “my teams need to take more risks.” The real need is not reckless risk-taking that will lead to even more problems and finishing even later. The real need is for speed.

An organization can only move as quickly as its leaders. Lead with Speed shows you how to get your ideas, plans, and needs disseminated quickly from the top down. Innovation, or genius, is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. Alan Willett provides a comprehensive guide on how to sweat faster. You will learn how to:

    Develop the mind-set required for leading with speed
  • Discern the critical differences between slow and fast projects
  • Notice what you as a leader need to do to create those differences
  • Create a targeting system for speed
  • Get whole groups of people working together to create organizational speed
  • Lead the exceptional few to be the catalyst for accelerating your organization

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632651662
Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
Publication date: 05/01/2020
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,085,342
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Alan Willett is an author, consultant, speaker, and expert at enabling leaders, teams, and organizations to take control of the accelerator of speed. He works with clients around the world, including the UK, Turkey, South Africa, China, India, Canada, and Mexico, and throughout the United States. He’s consulted for HP, Oracle, Microsoft, NASA, General Motors, Intuit, OnStar, Cornell University, Rutgers University, Technological de Monterrey, and many others. Alan’s passionate work has focused on leadership, with a laser focus on the unique challenges of leading in the elevated pressure environments of high-technology development.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 Exceptional Leaders Own the Accelerator

1 Is Your Organization Getting Faster? 5

A Tale of Two Organizations 5

A Closer Look at Team X from the Red Organization 7

The Transformation of the Red Organization 12

Measuring Improvement 13

What Can You Do Right Now? 16

2 Find the Alternatives to Trying Harder 19

Faster to Where? 21

The Beauty of Useful Data 24

Quality Rules Speed 25

Design, Design, Design 26

Prevention 27

Theory in Practice 28

The Key Steps to Sustained Improvement 29

What Can You Do Right Now? 31

3 Master the Mindset for Speed 33

Key #1 Focus on Speed to Value 34

Key #2 Tame the Dragons of Risk 35

Key #3 Create Speed from Failure 38

Key #4 Maintain Balance 39

Key #5 Master Shifting Gears 40

Key #6 Adjust Methods for Context 42

Key #7 Own the Game Clock 46

What Can You Do Right Now? 47

Part 2 Lead Projects with Speed

4 Start Projects with a Foundation for Speed 51

The Guidance System for Speed 53

Planning as a Model for the Work 54

Executive Sponsors and the Speed to Value 56

The Right People and the Right Skills 57

A Leadership Team for Speed 58

Defining Winning 59

Prioritize 61

Organize the Work and the Team 63

Right Tools, Right Training 66

The Keys to Your Preparation 66

What Can You Do Right Now? 67

5 Lead Teams to Create Plans for Speed 69

Project Sponsors 70

Teams that Own Their Goals 73

The Creation of Rational Plans 75

The Dragons of Risk Tamed 78

Turning Over Every Rock to Find More Speed 82

Follow-Through! 85

The Commitment Ceremony 86

What Can You Do Right Now? 89

6 Lead Teams to Win 91

The First Project Status Meeting 92

The First Failure 93

Finding Insight from Mistakes 95

Onboarding New Project Team Members 98

Personal Ownership of Project Problems 101

External Pressures 103

Crunch Time 106

What to Do Every Day 111

Finish with Style 111

What Can You Do Right Now? 113

Part 3 Lead Organizations with Speed

7 Remove the Sand from the Gears 117

Meetings Drive Speed 118

Rust: The Enemy of Speed 124

Types of Rust 126

Methods to Manage Rust 128

Gifts of Conciseness 131

What Can You Do Right Now? 132

8 Curate a Portfolio of Speed to Value 135

The Value of a Portfolio of Speed 136

The Worst Frustrations 136

The Capacity Problem 138

The Portfolio Management Team 139

Idea Clouds 143

To Explore or Not Explore the Ideas 144

Estimating Customer Value Gains 146

Estimating Speed Gains 149

Estimating Costs of Transforming Ideas to Reality 149

Decision Time! 151

Relentless Focus on Speed to Value 153

What Can You Do Right Now? 155

9 Shape Your Organization for Speed 157

You Own Project Outcomes 159

The Center of Organizational Speed 160

High Expectations Required! 162

Expert-Level Training and Coaching 165

The Proper Response to "Bad News" 167

The Spotlight Shines on Your Expectations 172

What Can You Do Right Now? 174

Part 4 Create a Leadership Force for Speed

10 Nurture the Exceptional Few to Drive the Speed of the Whole 179

Relentless Focus on Value 180

Master Your Skills 182

Drive to Win 183

Make Those Around You Better 184

Lighthouse Courage 186

Tell the Truth and Make a Positive Difference 187

Master the Laws of Speed 190

Step into the Bright Lights 191

Your Secret Ingredients 192

Choose the Exceptional Path 193

What Can You Do Right Now? 193

11 Amplify Your Leadership Force 195

Your Mission If You Choose to Accept It 197

The Serendipity Lottery 198

Extraordinary Responsibilities 199

Mentors that Make a Difference 201

Extraordinary Experiences 203

Powerful Connections 204

Leadership Force Summits 205

Seeking the Courageous for the Exceptional Journey 207

What Can You Do Right Now? 209

12 Create Your Culture of Speed 213

Case Study Background 215

Exceptional Difference #1 Know the Culture Around You 215

Exceptional Difference #2 Focus on Speed to Value with Your People 216

Exceptional Difference #3 Focus on Speed to Value with the Stakeholders 217

Exceptional Difference #4 Take Clear Personal Ownership 218

Exceptional Difference #5 Lead Your People to Success 220

Exceptional Difference #6 Make Those Around You Better 224

Exceptional Difference #7 Lead with Joy from Start to Finish 226

What Can You Do Right Now? 227

Alan Willett's Twenty-One Immutable Laws of Speed 229

Acknowledgments 233

Index 235

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