“The main problem with this great obsession for saving time is very simple: you can’t save time. You can only spend it. But you can spend it wisely or foolishly.” – Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Outside my hotel window in Arlington, VA, I could see a large footbridge. The bridge was resting on the ground in a parking area. It was built there over a period of a few months. Where it was built caused no inconvenience to the traffic at its intended destination. Today it is being transported about 1 mile to be a footbridge over a very busy road. The moving of the bridge was a “slow” process. It took days to prepare for the move. It took all day to move it the mile to its location. It will be fully installed and people will be walking across it within a very short amount of time. This new bridge will improve traffic for pedestrians and drivers. The way in which this improvement was accomplished was also the best for the people and cars. Instead of an install over months that would have been a tremendous inconvenience for everyone traveling that way, there was just one afternoon of detours. Some of my consulting projects follow this wise pattern. I just completed a job where I worked with key people to completely build and tailor a new set of methods, whole new ways of working, for teams. We did this in a metaphorical parking lot that was near the team, but not in the way. We involved the team and they were able to watch the work in progress without slowing down their current work. When we were done, we relaunched the team and the project with the new methods. They are quite happy with the results and moving much faster. Are you building bridges to speed?

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett
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