The one sentence summary

Stop waiting around – lead with clarity, flexibility and purpose.


  • Pace can drive performance. Leaders need to move at speed.
  • Today’s business environment is changing fast, so leaders need to better balance agility with resilience. Purpose and pace are required.
  • Leaders need to use time as smartly to achieve the most impact as efficiently as possible.
  • But it’s important to be responsible as well as responsive. Sometimes you need to slow down to get things right.
  • The pace race: repeated pace setting is an essential leadership practice.
  • Time is finite but energy isn’t, so manage your energy, not just your time.
  • Purpose drives pace: a true mission creates accelerating power and a great filter for ideas. Define it. Love it. Live it.
  • Structure for speed: create fast frameworks. Delete levels and empower frontline staff.
  • Editing is expediting: superfast means less. Aim for minimalism, reduce decisions for others, make it easy and create constraints.
  • Human understanding: know your audience, your team, and yourself.
  • Truth matters: candour and honesty help resolve conflict.
  • Hire smart, fire fast: take the time to find the right people and then get them in fast. Hire people who can decide, then delegate. Say hello to the best and goodbye to the worst. When you know, let them go.
  • Decide, delegate, deliver: think slowly, act fast.


  • The German Chief of the High Command in 1934 classified his officers into 4 groups:

1. Clever and lazy. Make them a commander.

2. Clever and hard working. Make them staff officer.

3. Stupid and lazy: You can always find something for them to do.

4. Stupid and hard working. Fire them.

  • The clever and lazy group are natural delegators and they always look for simpler, easier ways to get things done. Counterintuitive, but true.
  • When making decisions, label them, minute them, and shout about them.
  • Focus the debate: what decision needs to be made here? Label the decision clearly. Record and circulate it. Move from debate to action without too much delay.


  • A lot of the advice has been offered before, and not everyone will endorse the idea that speed is always a good idea.