Speed is almost always more important.
Speed matters a lot in business. Especially when the future is uncertain and the environment volatile. Human nature is to seek stability, to analyze and to create a plan. In business that might mean missing an opportunity, lose months of revenue or be late to the market.
Speed doesn’t mean things have to be hectic or that we accept low-quality outcomes. It means that we always keep moving forward, focus on what matters, adjust quickly when needed and act on what we can influence.
Many decisions and actions are adjustable and do not need extensive study. Instead of analysis paralysis, we have a bias for action. It means – in most cases – taking swift decisions: Don’t wait for permission, just state what you’re planning to do. Then do it. However, we value calculated risk-taking and keeping customer obligations in mind. Bias for action does not mean acting without consideration.
The inclination to action means having an idea or evidence, or at least an assumption, we want to validate. It is in the nature of such an approach that at times our assumptions prove wrong and the experiment fails. As long as we learn and adapt, that is okay.
However, failure is not a goal. It’s a yardstick for measuring your progress toward the goal of learning. Balance is key. If you never fail, it’s time to embrace bolder challenges and new experiments. If you always fail, it’s time to be more disciplined about learning from experience.
Just to be clear: We don’t celebrate failure. Especially not when it is a repeated mistake. Whenever we try something new, it should be treated as an experiment. If we fail here, it is okay. As long as we learn from it. When something we have done before turns into a disaster, that’s just bad execution. These operational failures are not okay.