The Future Belongs to the Fast
The future belongs to the fast.
The evidence surrounds us. Life moves in the fast lane, and living at full blast will lay you low if you slow down. Or if it doesn't bowl you over, it will flatten your potential and opportunities to maximize success. Hop on a keyboard and access Websites from anywhere on planet Earth. Board a plane and be continents away in a matter of hours.
Pick up a phone and have a global presence in as little time as it takes to punch a few buttons on a keypad. And you can do at least two of those things with a compact little device that probably also does duty as a camera, calculator or who knows what else. The rats in the race are still rats, but they're moving faster all the time. And it seems like getting on with life in any significant way depends on getting up to speed and keeping the pedal to the metal.
Not so long ago, one-on-one relationships were a safe haven for a slower pace. After all, the wonderfully mysterious process by which men and women found each other, grew to know and appreciate one another and finally fell in love and were married was usually a slow and measured undertaking. The very parts of the process so memorable to many of us were pleasant and unhurried. You know-the walks in the park, the deep conversations over long dinners, the endless hours spent together in front of movie screens and concert stages.
Well no more. Can you hear the wheels of yet another fond memory come screeching to a halt? TA DA! It's time for speed dating, baby! Yep. Seems like a lot of singles today are just too busy to meet people. If you don't opt for the bar scene and are not keen on dating co-workers, so the story goes, speed dating may be just what Cupid ordered.
It goes something like this. After paying a fee to take part in one of these events, singles meet a number of people in a quick succession of "dates" (conversations) lasting only a few minutes each. At whatever the interval happens to be (usually no more than 10 minutes), a bell or signal sounds and everyone rotates to the next "date." At the end, attendees pass on to organizers the names of the party or parties with whom they want to share contact information. When a match occurs, info is passed to both parties.
Urgency is about how you think. I really believe that only the quick will survive. At their very heart, the problems of the American automobile industry, to take a popular example, is the loss of urgency. Just doing things fast is not enough. Having a sense, having a culture, focused on urgency means there is an understanding of why things need to be done quickly, what will happen when you do and who will ultimately benefit.
Urgency is a way of life, a strategy for success. I hope every Armstrong employee understands the importance of speed -- and takes action. Urgency is attitude. The faster things get, the faster we want them. The computer program that takes a few seconds to load seems exasperatingly slow. I know I'm guilty. I'm spoiled. I want it NOW. I recently did a little experiment that drilled several things home to me. The first was the enormity of the Internet as an information resource. The second was the almost magical ability of search engines to locate information. And third? That would be my growing dependence on the first two--and it happened almost without my recognition. Fifteen years ago the Internet did not exist, at least in any mainstream way. Today, it dictates how and at what pace we live our lives.
David M. Armstrong is Chief Executive Officer & President of Armstrong International, Inc., and has evolved into a highly renowned speaker, appearing on award-winning television programs that focus on business leadership. Armstrong has been heard on the airwaves across the United States, as his unique leadership abilities have been showcased in virtually every media venue.
Armstrong recently appeared on the "Leaders on Leadership" television program that aired to millions of viewers across the world. The "Leaders on Leadership" show has a list of previous guests that essentially consist of leaders that are a "who's who" in the business realm, having all led major well-known companies across the globe.
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