Observing and reacting to trends makes the difference between success and failure in today's marketplace. Technology is shrinking time and space, giving customers more choices and businesses more competition with less time to respond. Thus, speed is an emerging trend that impacts business in a number of ways.

In today's turbulent business world, the most profitable businesses are those that anticipate and react quickest to customers' needs. Success means moving more quickly than ever before. It doesn't mean pushing yourself to work at an overstressed, breakneck pace. It does mean taking a whole new focus and approach to working, selling, managing and leading to speed up the business.

Researchers and consultants are talking to businesses to find what does and doesn't work in an era of accelerating change. Whether it's GE or Motorola in manufacturing, Wal-Mart or Home Depot in retailing, or Southwest Airlines in the service sector, thriving businesses are practicing some common key essentials.

  • Focus on the customer. Ask, listen, and respond.
  • Align with the future. Benchmark and prepare.
  • Be an innovator. In an era of rapid change, improvement through innovation is king.
  • Do it with quality. It lowers costs, increases speed, builds pride, and improves customer loyalty.
  • Get rapid, accurate feedback. Know what your customers, competitors, employees, suppliers, and the market are doing. Ignorance can be fatal.
  • Ability means agility. Be flexible and quick to respond and adapt.
  • If it doesn't add value, don't do it. If an activity doesn't add value, get rid of it.
  • Build teams, not empires. Self-directed work teams make better, faster decisions.
  • Lifelong learning is everybody's job. Learn how to learn and keep learning.
  • Just do it! Set deadlines that force you to use time efficiently and effectively.

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Author's Bio: 

Harry K. Jones is a professional speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a firm specializing in custom-designed keynote presentations, seminars, and consulting services. Harry has made presentations ranging from leadership to employee retention and time management to stress management for a number of industries, including education, financial, government, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing. He can be reached at 800-886-2MAX or by visiting http://www.AchieveMax.com.