Why distance is a better measure than speed

by Christian Hainsch


Services that are provided today are often measured by how quickly something was done or how long it took.


The time factor plays an increasingly important role in projects and the working world. It is all too often forgotten that it is not always the speed, but usually the distance covered that is important to reach a goal.


In this article, we want to take a closer look at this discrepancy and see how we can reach better results with less speed. 

Change is a driving force for mankind

If you look back and consider the past, most great things were achieved to overcome distance. Although time has always played a role, it was primarily about achieving a goal and bringing about a state of affairs that would make a lasting difference to people.


Most major changes in the history of mankind did not have time as a unit of measurement. It was important to bring the planned project to a successful conclusion. Think of great inventions such as the steam engine or the light bulb, which changed the lives of mankind forever. Both inventions took years, even decades. If the inventors had allowed themselves to be driven by time, the steam engine would probably have been insufficiently developed and would have gone down in history as useless but quickly invented and would remain there to this day. 

The same applies to major records that have influenced mankind. At the beginning of the 20th century, people began to see distances as a challenge. It was about crossing the Atlantic in flight, climbing the highest mountains or overcoming the distance to the moon and landing a man there. The people who overcame this distance have made their place in history. Whoever was the fastest is hardly remembered or is recorded negatively in the books of history (the Titanic was fast but never reached its destination).


In the middle of the 20th century and at the beginning of the 21st century, it was thought that the important distances had already been covered and that we now had to see who could do things the fastest. However, this hunt for speed inhibits the innovative power to achieve something really moving, as the achievement of the goal takes a back seat and time is seen as the most important measure. 

Despite increased speed, the distance covered becomes less and less

This striving for speed is also reflected in business and in many projects that take place in companies. In competition, it is really important to be ahead of a competitor in the market and to achieve a goal quickly. However, it is even more important that the quality of the work is right, as otherwise there is no added value for the customer if the services do not meet the customer's expectations. 


In product launch and marketing projects, the pursuit of speed may well be justified. However, if you go into an organization and into the development of these systems, there is also a rush for speed.


Of course, for projects such as the introduction of a new CRM system or a carve-out, it is important that this happens within a predetermined time frame. However, it is much more important to overcome the distance and achieve the goal in such a way that something is sustainably changed in the company. If you take time as the measure of all things, what should be done is often only done half-heartedly. This leads to a lot of money and nerves being wasted and employees and managers who are under time pressure and are exhausted at the end of the journey.


No marathon runner starts his race with a sprint. It's about organizing your strength along the way to cover the distance to the finish line. Once there, you should be able to experience what you have achieved and then enjoy it. If you drop dead before the finish or immediately afterwards, you haven't really won anything. And no one will remember that you were the fastest person to drop dead just before the finish at the Iron Man. There will be pity for this "achievement" but no recognition. No one will be encouraged to follow your footsteps and thus no progress or improvement to changes something will emerge. 


Achieving goals is the most important factor

In the business, it is important to achieve sustainable results. Although time is an important factor, the performance of a project and the achievement of the goal are the measure when it comes to evaluating success. It is measured by the fact that a goal has been achieved and the resulting change or improvement has a lasting effect on the company's success.


If speed is taken as the highest measure, it can quickly happen that projects are completed half-heartedly or not at all. Reasonable results cannot be achieved in this way and the project becomes an additional burden for the company instead of value-added work.