How many times have we heard there’s a tendency of the world to move faster? The world always tells you, “Time is money.” They say: run, run run, so you can make the most money! This fast-paced lifestyle is rooted in our brains. Companies are consumed by acceleration and the need to maintain forward momentum in order to secure and increase profit (or so it’s said).
There are some downsides to this. Speed often forces people to become less caring and interested in others around them. For those unable to keep up with the pace, they end up finding coping with the stress of looming deadlines and experiencing isolation and stress. One of its direct effects is loneliness.
Following this train of thought, fast-paced environments usually turn into a synonym of toxic work relationships. But there’s more to it than what easily comes to mind.
There are two kinds of fast-paced works. Something we must differentiate is a work environment with deadlines and constant checks, and poor management skills. More often than not, the office’s rushed state closer to looming deadlines comes from an inaccurate calendar, and not from the essence of the work itself. There’s a difference between failing to prioritize your amount of work, and being in work that requires fast pacing.
Then, there are fast-paced jobs that have high expectations of the amount of work you produce.
Let me give you a real-life example of this – that just happened within the last ten minutes. When I sat down to write this article, I wanted to make the perfect, interesting, and funny article, and then present this fantastic final work to the rest of the team in order to get their feedback.
But what often happened whenever I did something like that in the past was receiving feedback, often pushing me in a completely different direction – so I’d have to go back to the beginning and redo the whole thing, wasting lots of energy and time. Yikes!
The reason some jobs are fast-paced and require short-term deliveries of work isn’t enhancing productivity, nor profiting more. Not at all. But instead… it is to start the feedback loop.
A feedback loop is a common process of business and work environments. It’s based on the constant production of information related to the work, its processes, and the quality of all of it. By revising the actions constantly, feedback is created in order to improve. Input is used to adjust actions and goals and continue with the process. Then, the results of these actions are directed back into the feedback process, creating more input. And the cycle continues with the goal of improvement in mind.
Feedback loops are a key tool in organization, in order for them to archive productivity. And note that I said “productivity”, and not profit: because the goal itself is to improve the work process and its effectiveness.
Giving people feedback on their actions allows them to act upon them in order to achieve better behaviour. Especially when working with clients, it’s important to know one’s strengths and the quality of one’s work. Another especially valued aspect is said client’s opinion. Keeping in mind the client’s needs and having their opinion on every step of the project allows better decisions to be made and furthers the fluidity of the work process.
Beyond delivering higher quality products and services, feedback loops improve job satisfaction, communication, and trust between team members and the workplace’s environment as a whole.
Cord Himelstein uses an HVAC system as a metaphor to explain this effect: the thermostat reads the temperature of the room and adjusts itself. It stays stable no matter what the temperature is outside of the room.
So next time someone tells you “Time is money”, keep this in mind: Time is productivity! Time is improvement! Time is quality work! And money it’s just a positive outcome to that.
And it’s important not to fear feedback. The fact no one told you the work you’re doing is wrong won’t make it right. It’s useless to invest hours in something just for it to be rejected. You will lose much more time if you focus on the wrong topic, and then have to apply last-minute changes or rearrange the whole thing.
Fast work doesn’t mean badly done work either. There is a common tendency to work faster, and this often leads to badly delivered work. It’s easier to make mistakes. Think slowly, decipher what areas to hurry in and which ones not to. Avoid taking someone else’s definition of urgent and making it our own. Distinguish urgency from emergency.
How fast-paced work environments can improve the quality of your results. Fast reviews and collaborative feedback allow you to orient projects in the right direction, and focus only on what matters.