If you are under water it is wise to swim towards the surface

Being slow to acknowledge we are wrong comes naturally to most of us.


I see this when helping start-up companies which are struggling to achieve traction. Their response to poor results can be to work harder hoping to go faster in the same direction. A fixation on current strategy can end up concluding a lack of effort is responsible.

Don't just increase propulsion if you want to change direction. If your venture is heading towards a cliff the last thing you want to do is speed up. If you are heading the wrong way going harder just creates a bigger problem faster.

In fact slowing down and tweaking direction until you see results is essential before applying the after-burners. I prefer this approach to the “pivot” theory espoused by some investors. A pivot “a whirling about on one foot” is a drastic change of direction which is hard to execute and often less appropriate than making a number of smaller, controlled and measured changes. Appropriate if you are heading in completely the wrong direction but hopefully that is not the case.

Turning on the afterburners only makes sense once you are confident of your direction.

Effective velocity is about setting direction first and applying power second.

So if you don’t like the direction your venture is sailing, pause and consider a change of direction before going faster. Especially if you are already under water and wondering about how long you can hold your breath!

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