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It's Not the Big That Eat the Small...It's the Fast That Eat the Slow: How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business

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Book Overview

Why is AOL the most profitable new media company in the world, swallowing up one company after another and adding millions of new subscribers, while Prodigy and CompuServe are mere memories? How did... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Speed Plus Torque = Victory!

This is the first of two books by Jennings which I have recently read. (The other is Less Is More.) It was written in collaboration with Laurence Haughton. The subtitle reveals their core assertion: "How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business." Correctly, they stress the importance of using speed to achieve and then sustain a decisive competitive advantage. They also realize that there are times for an organization to be a sprinter but other times to proceed as if in a marathon. In the Prologue, Jennings and Haughton explain that they "began with a blank canvas. No points to prove, no axes to grind, and no one to impress. We truly wanted to figure this 'speed thing' out and boil it down into easy-to-replicate tactics." They developed criteria for selecting the fastest companies and then focused on them: Charles Schwab, Clear Channel Communications, AOL, H & M, Hotmail, Telepizza, and Lend Lease. The book presents a number of real-life lessons from these high-speed companies and their full-throttle executives. The authors also provide "time-proven instructions on becoming faster than anyone else."The material is organized within four Parts: Fast Thinking, Fast Decisions, Get to Market Faster, and finally, Sustaining Speed. In their Epilogue, the authors observe that, early on in their research, they discovered that "truly fast companies that have demonstrated the ability to maintain momentum aren't naturally any faster than their slower-moving rivals. But they are smarter." What's the difference? The truly fast companies avoid, "blow up," or get past various "speed bumps," refusing to be delayed or prevented from getting to where they want to be. As I read this book, I began to think of an organization as a vehicle. As such, what are its requirements? First, a specific and appropriate destination. Next, a capable driver. Then, a sufficiently powerful engine and enough fuel to keep it running. Also, a transmission with different gears (including reverse), shock absorbers, and brakes. Gauges keep the driver fully informed of available fuel, oil pressure, speed, time, etc. Jennings and Haughton discuss "speed bumps" and could have just easily included a discussion of terrain and weather. A number of organizations -- S & Ls 15-20 years ago and dot coms more recently -- have failed because they could not cope with "rough roads" and "foul weather." In several instances, imprudent speed was a factor in their demise. I want to stress this point because Jennings and Haughton do not glorify speed per se. In certain situations, however, speed is the determinant insofar as success and failure are concerned. Rapid response to customers' needs, for example, or to a new business opportunity. To extend the vehicle metaphor, executives also need a multi-gear "transmission" as well as an accelerator and brakes...and the skill to use each as well as the wisdom to know when.Jennings and Haughton have a Snap! Crackle! and Pop! writing style which is eminently

Read this book before your competitors eat your lunch!

Jason Jennings' and Larry Haughton's background as journalists adds great value to this book. They don't tell you what they think, they tell you what some of the most successful people in the world have told them about the value of moving quickly.If you're looking for magic dust or other simple solutions you'll be disappointed (but that probably wouldn't be the first time). However, if you can honestly look at yourself in a mirror (be prepared) and are willing to work hard, this book can make a major difference in your business. It already has for me.On page 24 they tell the story of a banker who put his managers through a 'what if' planning session and how that helped make the bank even more profitable. Based on that lesson, I put my management team through a similar exercise so they could identify changes they could make without a budget ax hanging over their heads. Subsequently, business conditions dictated the need for a major cost reduction and it had to be done within 48 hours. We not only met the deadline, but did so without having to resort to layoffs. Cutting costs is never easy, but this was the smoothest plan I've ever implemented because the managers knew it was their plan, not a corporate mandate.I've had the benefit of attending their seminars over the last year, and the lessons learned there and in this book have been instrumental in developing a lot of new revenue. Read this book before your competitors make the first move.

A Metaphor for Business, Life and Success

This book defines those characteristics that separate "the best" from "the rest." In five case studies, the authors clearly and effectively demonstrate how speed--more than capital, ambition, vision, planning and great thinking--can build and maintain business models that outperform and outlast others.To be a speed player, you have to know how to spot trends, make decisions quickly and launch a crusade.Jason and Larry have written the manual on gaining the ultimate competitive edge.

It's true! It works,The FAST do eat the SLOW

A comprehensive,factual and entertaining roadmap for all smart business men and women to speedily navigate the inner city battleground that is the competitive marketplace of today.Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton's concise and practical account of leadership strategy, and numerous tactics, show how being fast creates a unique and compelling point of difference.What's more their advice and observations work!Over the past ten years I've enjoyed a close professional relationship with Jason Jennings and his consultancy, in two large global media organisations.Firstly, I witnessed the transition from a hemorrhaging State run bureaucracy, to a fast, efficient, customer focused company, that when privatized, became a prized acquisition and cash cow.Secondly, Jason's teaching, strategic analysis and operational skills prevented the real threat of bankruptcy, and in just two years, the business units were producing record revenue and over 40% EBIT. An incredible turnaround, proving that the fast do eat the slow, and in the process gain the economic benefits.A great read,and essential reference for those serious about leading their organizations successfully and consistently in the 21st century.

Good Overview of Thinking and Decision Processes for Speed!

This book is the best one I have read to date on helping a company accelerate its ability to move ahead of the competition by being better at sensing the environment and reacting to it. Those who are interested in checking their organizations for stalled thinking in this regard will find a useful list of areas to investigate and improve. "Do more with less and do it faster." That's the mantra that the authors have investigated through their case histories of Charles Schwab, Clear Channel Communications, America On Line, H & M (clothing stores), Hotmail, Telepizza (European home delivery pizza chain), and Lend Lease (Australian company). The book is organized into four sections: Fast thinking; fast decisions; get to market faster; and sustaining speed. Each one contains a number of key points, with subpoint details to further elaborate. Here's how Fast Thinking is organized: "Speed . . . without a destination in mind, is haste." The focus of this section is on creating improvements in your business model or new business models.The key sections under the heading are to anticipate; spot trends; put ideas through a thorough testing process to probe for their downside weaknesses; and being sure that the best idea wins by changing the company environment. Each of these sections is illustrated with examples from the companies that were studied and more detail on the key elements. In this example, you should see the potential weakness of the book. It correctly points you toward spotting trends, but cannot possibly teach you what you need to know in just a few pages. So you will want to expand on the points here by reading other books that deal with these areas in more depth. In essence, the book then is an outline of the business processes you need for innovation in business models, choosing the right ones, getting them implemented well, and staying agile. The primary metaphor is to Wayne Gretzky, who was famous for his ability to anticipate where the puck would go next . . . and to aim for that spot. If you can determine what is "likely to occur in the next few months and the next few years [that] is enough to give you an edge . . . ." While I have not studied all of these companies, what was said about the ones that I know well was certain accurate and full of insight. I assume the rest was done equally as well. Many of the conclusions are similar to my own work on irresistible forces. Of the four sections, I thought that the first section on fast thinking had the most original material, and will be the most valuable for many companies. If you have problems with fast decisions and getting to market fast, you may find it hard to change very quickly. But if you are already in pretty good there, the first section can increase the flow of good new ideas for you to consider. Many CEOs tell me that this is a limitation for them. I do have some concerns. If everyone organizes for speed, how sustainable will that be? Perhaps it would be b
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