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The Slow Movement: Right-speeding

The Slow Movement

The Slow MovementAs I started researching this article, I found myself speed-reading an interview with Carl Honoré. Was the interview dull? No. Rather, it was my need to finish and move on. This is what the Slow Movement is pushing back, gently, against.

The Slow Movement is a corrective. While some proponents advocate slowing down for its own sake, I think the most persuasive advocates of slow are those who see it as being about slowing down to the right pace. I’ll call that right speeding.

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In Praise of Slow Management

SLOWMy friends would say that the Slow Movement is one that I honour more in the breach than the observance; but honour it I do.  I like the idea of slow food and of taking more time to do things.


I enjoy taking the time to do things really well, and wish I could be more selective about the things I do, so that I could do less.  I first came across the idea seeing a copy of Carl Honoré’s book,In Praise of Slow.’ Typically, I flicked through it, gleaned a few ideas, and moved on.   Aarrgh: the irony is not lost on me.  It’s on my desk now…

Slow down; take some time

By the way, if you want to take some time to explore this idea, here are my favourite links:

The World Institute of Slowness is taking a thoughtful and serious approach to promoting the slow movement

The witty and wise website of the IINDM; the International Institute of Not Doing Much is not quite so serious!

Slow Planet is Carl Honoré’s website, with thoughtful blogs from a number of authors – take your time over this one!

BBC Radio 4’s wonderful Food Programme, reporting on the ultimate in slow food, and the joys of food from indigenous communities.  I just happened to catch this while driving, and really did slow down, to hear it all.

Fast Change often Fails

SLOWOne of the reasons change fails is nothing to do with getting the design wrong, nor the fact of the inevitable resistance that it faces.  After all, if resistance is inevitable (and I strongly believe it is) then it cannot alone account for the failure of some changes while others thrive.

One major reason why change fails is because we try to make the change too fast.  Then, impatient for results, we try and make more change when the first fails.

I am not saying that speed in itself is wrong.  I am a great believer in making change, calibrating it and then improving, rather than going for perfect first time.

Where we need to slow down is by taking the time to communicate better.  Make time for people and they will give you better, faster, results.  We improve our management, when we slow it down.

Some examples please, Mike

SLOWHere are four situations where taking more time can make things quicker – an approach that the emerging Slow Transport approach (‘slowth’) to urban congestion is promoting.  When you slow traffic speeds in a congested environment, journey times paradoxically reduce.


Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of progress of a colleague to whom you delegated a job?  Did you really take the time to brief them carefully?


We cannot possibly support or participate properly in what we don’t understand.  A lack of knowledge exacerbates fear, so in times of change, make time to communicate relentlessly.


Who schedules the work you need, the resources or deliveries your business is dependent upon, or even your own workload?  Let’s call this omnipotent being ‘The Scheduling Clerk’.  You will want a favour from this person from time to time, so slow down and exchange a few pleasantries whenever you speak with them.  They will appreciate it and you will win in the end.


You want to make that sale.  So take the time to listen to your potential customer.  The more you can learn from them, the easier your sale will be.  If you rush to present your goods or services, you will rarely succeed.

Multi-tasking does not work

SLOWThere is a body of evidence now that multi-tasking does not work.  There are too many people getting stressed at work – so many that we need a National Stress Awareness Day. We talk about an economic slow-down, but all it means is that we all speed up.

So here’s the deal

It’s December now.  The long break and New Year are coming up.  Maybe it is time to slow down and think about next year.  Maybe it’s time to re-think how you manage.

Some Management Pocketbooks you Might Enjoy

When you slow down, you transform not just what you achieve and how you feel, but the way that others perceive you.  Cultivate slow in the right areas of your manner, and you will also boost your personal impact, as a bonus.  Learn more in The Impact and Presence Pocketbook.

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