Change the Competitive Game with Speed

Can you change the competitive game by moving faster?

In the December 2, 2010 New York Times Magazine, Michael Sokolove writes a stunning article, Speed-Freak Football about the University of Oregon’s football team using a speed-play strategy to win football games. The Oregon Ducks don’t just beat their opponents, they embarrass them off the field, winning by up to five touchdowns.  

Ducks head coach, Chip Kelly uses a rapid-fire spread offense that eliminates the huddles and essentially exhausts the opposition by keeping them running the entire game. The team can start a new play as quickly as five seconds after the previous play ended confounding and draining the competition. Often their playing speed limit is how fast the officials can move the down marker chain.

Through 10 games so far, they are unbeaten and averaged 50.7 points a game. The article is a fascinating read about Kelly has transformed the way that the team practices and communicates to create this massive change in how football is played.

In bringing speed to the game, they have become CompetitionProof.

In business, speed wins. If your quality, selection, customer service, and price are equal to your competitors, response time breaks the tie. Whoever is fastest to respond gets the deal. In a competitive environment, rapid response time can correct for competitive defects like a higher price.

You might be thinking, yes, but if I respond too fast, my customer will think it’s easy for me to do, or I have lots of inventory, so I should charge less. You might get a cheap customer to say that, but the vast majority of customers want speedy response and are even willing to pay extra for expedited service.

Consider the magician’s principle: “Make the easy things look difficult and difficult things look easy.” That’s what customers pay for and pay well for.

How can you transform how you approach your business and your customer to increase speed to respond and deliver? It may require altering how you get things done, yet it’s completely worth it if you can change the game to be truly CompetitionProof.