comments 5

Speed outweighs all else

Rapid and high-volume decision making are fundamental to real estate development.

In fact, it’s hard to think of anything being more important when it comes to executing on a project. This is not to say that being thoughtful and doing remarkable work aren’t important. You, of course, need to do those things as well. But it is to say that the benefits of moving as fast as you possibly can usually outweigh all else.

What this means is that any decision is often far better than no decision. Because no decision can grind everything to a halt. You need to maintain momentum and the way to do that is to make a lot of high-quality decisions.

As someone who was originally trained as an architect, this is something that I had to learn in the workplace. Because in architecture school, you’re basically taught to work on your projects for as long as humanly possible and then, when you’re done, you work on them some more. They’ll never be good enough and you certainly haven’t spent enough time “working in studio”.

But in practice, you need to go. I would like to once again reiterate that this is not a license to do crappy work. I think the way to think about this is that speed and excellence reinforce each other. Our team always strives to do exceptional and remarkable work. And one of the ways to actually do that is by focusing on speed.


  1. johnbarnott

    That’s a cop out for lousy training!
    The hurrieder I go the behinder I get!
    I think the correct analogy is to make the best decision you can, but not before you have the right information. Otherwise you are guessing and depending on luck. That is not what professionals are paid to do!


      • johnbarnott

        Like most things in life, it depends.
        If it is life threatening you’d better wait until you have the right information (building structure say) but if you are designing a chair maybe over-engineering is of little consequence.
        I don’t think we are arguing this point.
        Asking the right questions is always appropriate.


  2. Pingback: Pace outweighs all else – BRANDON DONNELLY – Knowledge of world

  3. Myron Nebozuk

    I completely agree. When I was a partner in an architecture firm, new hires were told on their first day at work that “you are being paid to make decisions”. It didn’t matter if a staff member had partial information; it was more important to make timely decisions with the information a person had at that moment. If new information emerged later and changed the trajectory of the initial decision, it was no big deal; we quickly adjusted to accommodate the new information.

    Particularly liberating early in my career was a Harvard Business Review article about decision making. The authors concluded that businesses only have to be right 20% of the time to be successful. That means you and I are free to be wrong 80% of the time! In the 80% wrong category, they provided the now quaint example of a company having to choose new telephones for their business. Even if a company had carefully analyzed a range of options, it was entirely possible to choose a vendor that wasn’t optimal for that business. For example, one vendor’s call forwarding process might involve 3 steps instead of two steps for other vendors. That additional step might take away 30 seconds of individual effectiveness each day. That’s mildly frustrating but not nearly enough to sink a business. Reading this article freed me from the pressure of making the right decision every time.


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