Are You A Fast Company?


So many things that seemed hard and certain now seem vaporous and tenuous. It’s like there’s no there, there. Consider:

* We in Michigan could hardly imagine a world without a Big Three.

* How could a big city not have a daily PAPER?

* Where was the barrier that my generation thought would always, or for a long time, stop a guy who looked like – let alone was named – Barack?

* How did Bill Gates get to be “old money?”

* How is it possible that your teenage son or daughter could have 373 “friends”? I mean what the heck is a “friend” these days?

The rapidity of change struck me again in reading this month’s Fast Company magazine. (Hmmm, can a monthly be fast?) Despite the name, they still print and mail you a monthly magazine for about ten bucks a year; it’s a great and cheap way to stay up on the major changes in technology, business, and oddly this month – politics. The cover story is about “the kid who made Obama President” – 25 year old Facebook co-founder, Chris Hughes. The Hughes-Obama team built a network through which 70,000 people in turn raised $30 million for the campaign. 2 million people built “profiles” on the site (remember when a profile was a picture of you from the side?). It’s unreal. Unimaginable change.

This extraordinarily FAST change is both the result and in turn the cause of the age of the everyday leader. Whether you’re trying to find ideas, resources, or people – whether for your business, your kids, your church, your faith, art or service – they’re out there. If you expect the world around you to remain the same, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment or disaster. But if you have a dream of creation – of a better product, service, home, heart or world – this is your time. Act FAST! Stay new and alive to

Lead with your best self,


Audio File:   Are You A Fast Company?

  • Your “Reading for Leading” is already a bright spot in my Monday morning.

    Thank you and keep on, keeping-on!

  • Dan,

    Check out this video ( It gives a series of seemingly unrelated facts, but shows just how much the pace of change has intensified. I use it to start presentations. Not because any one fact relates to my topic, but since I work for a company that has been in front of much of that change over the last decade, this video tends to open people’s eyes that changing the way they do business isn’t just an option, but something we all will have to do.

    I can’t vouch for each statistic they use, but the message is clear. Change is coming – either constantly innovate, or you will be left behind.


  • Dan,

    I agree that today’s effective leaders adapt easily to cultural situations.

    Being unaware that we can change our leadership style to match the situation at hand, we will unconsciously engage our default behavior. Only when we become aware of something, are we able to make choices as to the action we wish to take. The ultimate leadership responsibility is modeling the behaviors you expect from others. To a large degree, leaders operate in a fishbowl. Employees are constantly watching the leader–and learning from him or her.

    Throughout his long and storied career, Colin Powell has resisted chasing the latest management trend or fad. To anyone who would listen, Powell has always advocated the benefits of adopting a ‘situational approach’ to leadership instead of the ‘one size fits all’ approach that is favored by so many management consultants.

    Cultural situation awareness begins with capturing accurate and deliberate business intelligence using the very best diagnostic measurements and precision tools. Today, the Internet allows management to know ‘what’s happening now.’ Since people represent 50-80% of organizational costs and are a flexible resource through learning and innovating, engaging them for enhanced productivity is why effective leadership matters.

  • The comment made by John Burchett about change is so relevant. If one is not open to change their lives and businesses will be stuck in the mud, just spinning but going nowhere. In order to not only survive but thrive in this economy fast change is the name of the game. I am working on different strategies to keep my foreign language firm out there reaching out to new and different markets. I can no longer wait for referrals, I have to fire up companies engines so that they keep up and preferably ahead of the market by reaching out globally. Yes they may thank me for the opening the cultural and linguistic doors but it is their willingness to move on up and fast which sets them apart from the counterparts.
    Thank you “Dan” for putting this out there.
    Dr. Randi Lou

  • Dan,

    Change is the one constant in the universe, although some would say that the bureaucratic resistance to change is a counter-balancing constant. Organizations still remain resistant to change until it takes more energy to stay put than to change AND until someone makes the change desirable to organizational leadership. Packaging is important and I believe is a primary function of consulting firms.

    Cautionary Tale and Example: Until recently, I worked as (among other jobs) the marketing manager for a small non-profit music festival/social club. For three of the four years I worked there, I campaigned for an updated image, increased Web-presence (including video and audio), and social networking to increase the size and broaden the mix of their audience. The resistance to change was incredible. Two months before they showed me the door, they hired a marketing consulting firm to make recommendations. The marketing firm liked my ideas, which were recycled and presented by guys who look good in toy suits and their young blonde associates. I thought good ideas would sell themselves. The firm is in and I am out.

    By the way, the Web site looks pretty much as I envisioned it.

    Please consider a bit of advice from a frumpy, 59-year-old, unemployed curmudgeon. It is not enough to be right. It is insufficient to simply build a solid business case for necessary changes. Don’t ignore the packaging. President Obama IS President Obama, at least in part because of the right wrapper. I agree that much of the unimaginable change is unreal. Who would think a guy like Madoff could bilk billions from bankers and super-rich citizens? Those people were not stupid, but they bought the package he was selling.

    And back off on the accelerator once in awhile. I will process more information today than my great-grandparents processed in a month, and more than my grandparents processed in a week. Newspapers don’t fail because they lack quality or depth of news coverage. They fail because the paper medium is simply not fast enough, for enough of the news-hungry populace. The speed with which we have to process the information we receive opens the door for men like Madoff with their sleek, shiny, and speedy packages of promises.

    Perhaps pausing in my headlong rush to super-success as an everyday leader would allow me to spot the danger signs. I’d love a fast, shiny, new car — yet is that the right vehicle for my daily bumper-to-bumper commute to work (if I had a job)? Maybe it is time to stop and smell the package. Pause and take a whiff of that shiny new vehicle…is that “new car smell,” or is there something rotten deep inside?


  • Life is change. Deal with it! Better than imagining that we can restore some idyllic past that never was. Evolution is a reality. You can like it or you can lump it, but that’s the way it is. Those who adapt survive. The converse is also true.

  • >