For most highly effective leaders, making mistakes is not an option. Neither is slowing down. What does it take for a leader to keep up a fast pace while producing quality output?

In a recent article for Harvard Business Review, leadership development consultancy Zenger/Folkman identified seven behaviors that differentiate leaders who manage to combine speed and quality.

  • Provide clear strategic perspective. Define your vision for the organization’s direction and translate that strategy into challenging, meaningful goals and objectives for your employees.
  • Set stretch goals and maintain high standards. Stretch goals have a natural tendency to increase speed and effort. Setting high standards shows employees exactly what high-quality work looks like.
  • Communicate effectively. When everyone understands where they are going, what problems need to be resolved and where projects are in terms of milestones, both speed and quality increase.
  • Have the courage to change.
  • Consider external perspectives. Look outside the organization to identify shifting trends and changing customer mindsets.
  • Inspire and motivate. Make sure your direct reports feel essential to the organization.
  • Innovate. Leaders with fast execution and high quality are always looking for a fresher, faster, more efficient way to deliver. They know that standard procedures just won’t cut it anymore.

(For the full article, see “The Traits of Leaders Who Do Things Fast and Well,” Harvard Business Review, Nov. 16, 2016.)