Podcast: How to slow down to speed up with Alita Harvey-Rodriguez

In this recap from a Dubb Support video, we speak with Alita Harvey-Rodiguez on how to slow down to speed up. This is a fantastic conversation for anyone that wants to improve their sales processes, navigate a substantial change in their department, or help their organization achieve their goals. If you would like to view an excerpt of this discussion, click on the play button above. Otherwise, you can check out the full episode by clicking here. Enjoy the conversation!

As sales or marketing professionals, we are trying to reach certain goals. We may be wanting to hit a monthly or yearly sales quota. In other circumstances, we may have a bigger goal of building our brand equity in our sectors or industries. Whatever the case may be, there is likely this temptation to go toward that goal as quickly as possible. There is even this famous phrase coined by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. That phrase? Move fast and break things. 

While there is definitely some value to speed, there is another camp. The perspective from that camp is all about slowing down to speed up. It is a different way of embracing speed, yet it does so in a way that avoids wasted time and bruised egos. 

This leads me to this blog post. At HubSpot’s Inbound event in Boston, I had a quick sit down meeting with Alita Harvey-Rodriguez. Alita is the managing director of MI Academy, which delivers project-based training to help business leaders build creative and high performing teams in Marketing, Customer Experience & Organizational Alignment. She is also the creator of HackGames and a Top 50 Small Business Leader in 2022. It’s safe to say that she knows her stuff about marketing and delivering a message to a specific audience. 

I connected with Alita on LinkedIn and this conversation (and video) were part of the Dubb 100. The Dubb 100 was a project where my team and I would shoot 100 social media videos, and Alita was part of that effort. Alita was also at HubSpot Inbound because of a speaking opportunity. Specifically, she was there to deliver an exclusive talk titled “The Loyalty Agenda: How to Slow Down to Speed Up.”

In this post, we discuss everything from the value of slowing down to key metrics that you should monitor when slowing down to speed up. It is a fantastic conversation and I’m sure you will learn something from it.

Without further ado, let’s jump to some of the key takeaways from the discussion. 

The Power of Video

Before getting into how to slow down to speed up, Alita and I talked about video. At Inbound, we were shooting some video for Dubb and we got to talking with Alita about cameras and many other topics around video. 

As Alita explained, she loves shooting video. It makes her inherently happy because she is humanizing communication with some audience. As she argued, you can’t get that anywhere else. There is no amount of copy that you can write that will do the same thing. 

I fundamentally agree with Alita. If you are a longtime reader of Dubb’s blog, you know that video is powerful in so many different ways. It can help you tell better stories and build powerful connections with any type of audience. Because video is obviously based on visuals, it is inherently more memorable. In fact, some studies have shown that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Simply put, if you are using video, you are in an outstanding way to build stronger connections, generate more leads, and increase your conversion rate. 

If you haven’t yet tried out video for sales or marketing, I highly encourage you to do so. You can click here to sign up for a free 14-day trial of Dubb’s premium plans, so don’t hesitate to experiment with our tools. I’m confident that you will create some fantastic video content for your business. 

Video Builds Trust

How to Slow Down to Speed Up

So let’s discuss how to slow down to speed up. 

When I first heard the phrase “slow down to speed up,” it immediately sounded like a paradox. It sounded like it was more about being mindful, meaningful, and focused on longevity. 

As Alita argued, this idea is a leading growth philosophy for businesses that are going through changes. It is a philosophy that goes so deep and completely transforms companies. For instance, by implementing this idea, Alita has seen 43% growth over two years, along with decreases in operating costs. 

The basic idea is that businesses and organizations aren’t focused on acting as quickly as they can to solve a problem or dilemma. Instead, what they are doing is being deliberate. They are canvassing their employees, generating ideas, and then swiftly executing those ideas. By doing this, organizations become more efficient and faster. At the same time, employees are happier and overall morale is higher. This leads to the organization becoming even more efficient and faster. 

Alita says that an interesting thing happens when people hear this idea of how to slow down to speed up. They somewhat freak out. They are like, “You want me to slow down? I can’t do this.” They mention things like a board of directors that is pressuring them to hit certain targets by a certain date. They may also argue that they just made a change at their company and need time to roll out that change. 

In these circumstances, they are getting direction from the top and are constantly hearing about impending deadlines that they need to meet. This prevents them from slowing down and really thinking about whether real value is being added through their actions and work. Moreover, managers who adopt this speed-at-all-costs strategy aren’t thinking about the people who are actually implementing their instructions. As I’ll discuss below, this can lead to lower morale, burnout, and possibly resignations from your top colleagues. 

When managers miss these signals because they are constantly running to meet some short-term goal or objective, they aren’t truly listening to their colleagues. This is obviously unfortunate. Listening lets managers (and their companies) incorporate that feedback and iterate. They can be more creative when they are trying to think of ways to accomplish their goals. While it may feel satisfying to proclaim some initiative, goal, or strategy from the C suite, it can be ill advised. It may not truly create value, but because of the focus on speed, managers may miss some obvious red flags. On the contrary, by slowing down to speed up, managers can develop a better game plan. They can listen to their colleagues, incorporate their valuable feedback, and get much closer to truly accomplishing their objectives and goals. 

Quality Over Quantity

Ultimately, one realm that I like to live in is quality over quantity. I don’t want to sacrifice quality in any regard. I’m constantly looking for feedback, whether it is feedback on the content that we release on our social channels or the software platform that we are building. 

So when thinking about how to slow down to speed up, I raised a question for Alita. That question focused on intrapreneurs. For individuals working at great, fast-growing companies, I was curious how they can pitch this idea of slowing down to speed up. In other words, what are some of the tactical ways that they can do that?

In my mind, I was thinking of different metrics on sales or closes. After all, boards have goals. They need to maximize shareholder value. If you could tie this idea of slowing down to speed up with this idea of maximizing shareholder value, it may be easier to get buy-in from the C suite and top management. 

As Alita said, it is helpful to look at it from a loyalty perspective (specifically, the loyalty and retention of specific customers). She dropped an interesting statistic. Companies that increase their customer loyalty by only 5% can see revenue increases from anywhere from 25% to 95%. So if we just discuss the customer loyalty side of things, the financial element stacks up. Then, we can think about efficiencies and return on investment with staffing. It’s pretty intuitive: when your employees and colleagues are happier, they are going to stay longer. They aren’t going to take as many sick days and they are more creative. The solutions that they roll out are better. All of these benefits lead to even more financial benefits.

Alita mentioned this idea of tying metrics of slowing down toward financial outcomes. She argued, however, that this is where people get mixed up. This is where people get scared of this question of how to slow down to speed up. It takes some courage to adopt this philosophy. After all, the thinking is, “I have a quota to hit. How can I think about slowing down?” 

But as Alita argued, the business case stacks up. Slowing down to speed up is a financially attractive idea. Employees are less sick, happier, and the costs of acquiring staff and customers decrease. As she mentioned, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an old customer. Ultimately, to implement this philosophy of slowing down to speed up, there are so many different levers that companies can pull. They just need the courage to pull those levers, and the courage comes from emphasizing both the business case and the higher-level happiness case. By speaking about both, intrapreneurs are in a better position to successfully introduce this idea into their organizations. 

Paradoxes and KPIs

In this discussion, I think there are two paradoxes. Typically, in an employment situation, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. In other words, these are the people that are complaining, struggling, or having some sort of an issue. That said, the high performers may not be speaking up. Because of this, they may be putting themselves in a high-stress situation. The end result? It could be burnout. 

This is one of the worst scenarios for you and your company. You don’t want to inadvertently retain individuals who aren’t a good fit for your company and weed out those that are a good fit. And when I am talking about “high performers,” I’m not just talking about the “closers” and high-converting members of your sales staff. I’m talking about people in marketing, operations, finance, and more. 

So in this discussion of how to slow down to speed up, we need to ask how we can have better metrics to empower both leaders and employees. Things like customer loyalty, customer happiness, conversion rate, lifetime value, and customer churn are all metrics and KPIs that we use. 

Alita also argued that there are some next-generation KPIs that we should be considering. She said that when implementing the “how to slow down to speed up” philosophy, she sees changes across four different areas of a business. Specifically, Alita mentioned marketing and communications, sales, human resources, and operations. She said that when we slow down enough to hear what people are really saying, we get ideas on how to solve the biggest problems in their departments. By adopting this perspective and not force-feeding them strategies and tactics, we start to see real changes across the board.

In terms of measurement, Alita relies on an anchor method. Specifically, she recommends using mixed methodologies in your measurement. Financial measurement is certainly one of those methodologies. However, what Alita uses as part of her anchor method is the Net Promoter Score. While some people may hate Net Promoter Scores, Alita believes they can be helpful. Granted, the problem with the Net Promoter Score today is that people typically only use that one metric. Further, they only use it in a transactional environment. They don’t gather real-time data and even if they do, they don’t gather it throughout the entire business. Just think about it: it isn’t just your customers who should be giving you that Net Promoter Score. It also shouldn’t be given when a specific product is delivered or shipped. Net Promoter Scores need to be across different parts of the customer journey (depending on what you want to improve). It’s also critical within your staff journey.  

Net Promoter Scores can be your anchor method. But to reiterate, there need to be mixed methods. While we are constantly trying to shift our Net Promoter Scores, we need to match them with other methodologies (like customer satisfaction scores or customer effort scores). By doing so, you can track your work and ensure that you are better executing the slow down to speed up philosophy.

Going Forward and Implementing the Philosophy

We started this blog post by raising the question of how to slow down to speed up. As you can see, this idea is an extremely powerful one. Even though it may seem like you are acting slow, you are embracing speed. You are just doing it in an inadvertent way.

Whether you are the CEO of your company or a sales professional at a large firm, you can embrace these ideas. Obviously, those in leadership have a greater latitude to implement this idea within their organizations. At the same time, however, intrapreneurs and those who are lower on the totem pole can make a convincing case for these ideas. The best way to know is to pitch and implement them right now. Your future self may already be thanking you. 


At Dubb, we love thinking about and discussing topics like how to slow down to speed up. If you have any questions about the ideas mentioned in this post, you can reach out by clicking here. Otherwise, feel free to click here to learn more about Dubb and click here for a free 14-day trial of our premium plans.

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