Speed without a purpose is chaos.

Velocity is speed toward a purpose.

David Kenny – CEO of the Weather Company

vmg-windward-markIn sailboat racing this is known as Velocity Made Good or VMG for short. VMG is always in relation to where you are going, typically a racing Mark.

In business (and life) some people just like to move fast, because they like motion and speed, but don’t really have a clear sense of where they are going, and that is okay with them because their needs (at least two of them) are being met.

However, with the exception of sole proprietors, there are other stakeholders in the organization (or spouses) and they have different needs, like finances and customer care. For a leader that likes to move fast these may be issues that someone else will need to take of.  This person’s energy may also need to be channeled in order to reach an objective.

There may be some push back with that since their desire is to go straight ahead. The interesting correlation with sailboat racing is that you normally can’t just go straight ahead to the mark. You have to go at angles to reach the objective.

The same could be said of business. There are things that you must do, prerequisites, before you can reach your objective. The goal may to get really big really fast, but there are a lot of small things that must be done along way to making that happen, like maintaining VMG.

Quote from an interview article in the New York Times