The Future of Speed

IF YOU’RE A BABY boomer or a Gen-X’er, you remember business in the 1980s and 1990s. Back then, we were awash in an alphabet soup of new management and technology tools: TQM, CRM, ERP, SFA, LMS—and more.1 Business process reengineering (BPR) was godfather to all these tools, and all reflected the hope that streamlined processes and better technology would make things happen faster in organizations. It was a hope based on a mechanistic view of business: one that sees the organization fundamentally as a machine that can be designed in advance to deal smoothly and rapidly with any situation it encounters. This era represented “first-generation speed.”

Today, some leaders still focus most of their attention ...

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