We often talk about speed when describing certain kinds of businesses. Some companies are bureaucratic, slow, dysfunctional… others are fast… fast to market, fast to ship you something.

Just like a car, though, there's an alternative to raw speed. Call it maneuverability. You might still take a long time to get up to perfect cruising speed, but you can initiate a turn on a dime. I'd put Ford in this category. Obviously, it's going to be a long time before a car company is fast. It can take a year or more to get a factory up and running… there are just too many resources to manage. But how fast can a leveraged person in the organization get a decision made? How much data needs to be collected, how much proof needs to be produced, how many meetings need to be held?

In my experience, the size of the company isn't always the driving factor in this metric. It's usually the guts of senior management that matters.

Brandon Smith took two hours to get this Haiti T-shirt to market. Obviously, t-shirts are very different than SUVs, but the concept is the same. You can choose to organize to make decisions quickly. Or you can have the market ignore you.