Using speed as a competitive advantage is less about finding ways to do things quicker. It's more about eliminating speedbumps. In It's Not the Big That Eat the Small...It's the Fast That Eat the Slow: How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business, Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton write:
"Instead of looking for magical answers as to what companies do to be fast, we began asking, "What do fast companies do to eliminate speed bumps that slow everyone else down?" ... truly fast companies that have demonstrated the ability to maintain momentum aren't naturally faster than their slower-moving rivals. But they are smarter. Smart enough to recognize that the speed bumps that slow everyone else down must be ruthlessly eliminated... Each has made speed -- fast thinking, fast decisions, fast to market, and sustaining momentum -- one of their unique competitive advantages."
Friction is death by a 1000 paper cuts. I'm a fan of reducing friction, while building speed and momentum. I'm always asking, what speedbumps can I eliminate in my day? ... my job? ... my org? ... my company? ... my industry? ... my life? These simple questions shape a lot of what I do. If I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem.