Maintaining the Balance: Speed and Stability

March 17, 2013

This post is part of the Maintaining the Balance series. See my previous post on Clarity and Morale.

Speed and Stability are both necessary, whether you are completing a project, building a leadership team, managing organizational momentum, or participating in an athletic competition.

Some of us are motivated by passion to prioritize speed over stability. Others are hesitant to move too fast, perhaps out of fear, and err on the side of being too cautious.


Stagnant is what we call a project or person that is moving slowly and unstably. They have neither the compulsion to push forward nor the level-headed direction to stay on track. So they go nowhere.

Cautious sounds wise, and sometimes is certainly a good quality in and of itself. But not at the expense of momentum. The old fable of the tortoise and the hare isn’t always accurate—sometimes slow and steady comes in last.

Volatile signifies great capacity for power, but a lack of control. Like an uncontained nuclear reactor, volatile people and teams can be used for good, but may cause a lot of damage before they get there.

The Optimal combination is High Speed and High Stability. Determination and Wisdom. Momentum and Direction. The passion of youth matched with the discernment of age. Good to Great calls this a high degree of entrepreneurial spirit coupled with the power of disciplined decision making.

Maintaining this balance is not an overnight endeavor and if you’re like me you find yourself gravitating to a certain quadrant. As I discuss in my book Authority, it takes a good team with complementary talents to achieve success. Understanding which way you lean helps you know who is needed to balance out your team.

Which state do you tend towards? What people and skill-sets might you need to recruit to build a quicker and more stable team?