Situational Speed.



The Audi RS3 I’m about to return to the dealer has 400 horsepower and maxes out at 280km/h. Germany’s derestricted autobahns have allowed me to prove it at my convenience over the two and a half years I’ve had it.


But even if it were possible to drive everywhere that fast 24/7 (which it isn’t – lower speed limits are enforced most of the time, on most stretches of the network), it wouldn’t be sensible because:

  1. It’s physically and mentally draining to drive at the kind of speed for any length of time.

  2. Doing so empties the tank in minutes – I can literally watch the needle dropping as I drive.

  3. Should anything go seriously wrong, my spectacular death is a nailed-on certainty.

Speed is good. Speed works. Sometimes.


Instead, I prefer getting my speed fix in short, sharp bursts when the mood takes me, or when I need to make up some time during a long journey.


I call these short periods of high velocity action “Situational speed”, and they are as evident in business as they are on the road.


You see situational speed when one company swoops to buy another before anyone else gets a look-in.


You see it at quarter end, when sales teams are either trying to make up for previous poor performance or outperform their colleagues to secure a bigger bonus.


And you see it as people jostle for position when an organization prepares to restructure.


Faster is not the only option


However, what I’ve also learned is that situational speed is not always about going faster. Slowing down or even stopping are often better options. For example:

  • Redoubling your efforts to make up for poor sales doesn’t make much sense if the problem is the product, and not your lead generation skills. It might be better to stop, take a step back and work out how to improve the offer first.

  • A shuffling of the management pack might mean you should seek a new opportunity somewhere else, rather than endure a shake-up that might put you in a worse position.

  • And running to try and catch up with a competitor might be a waste of time if there is a better opportunity in creating a new market niche which nobody else owns yet.


After 10 years of driving high performance cars, I’m about to change gears and switch to a vehicle that screams adventure rather than speed.


It will be fast enough when I need it to be. But it will also allow me to take roads I’ve never travelled, to places I’ve never been. (I’ll reveal what it is in November, when I pick it up).


Are you still heading to the right destination at the right pace, and are you enjoying the journey? If not, we should talk.


Copyright Hamish Mackenzie, 2021. All rights reserved.