Guest Column | December 1, 2017

10 Ways to Speed Up in 2018

By Liz Bywater, Ph.D.


As we approach the end of another busy year, one thing is patently clear: The pace of business (and life) is at an all-time high. We operate in an era of nonstop activity, rapid change, and constant connectivity. In this climate, leaders like you can find it incredibly difficult to get the right things done — efficiently, rapidly, and with lasting impact.

You’ve got to move fast. But not so fast that you miss key opportunities or make costly mistakes. Time and resources are limited, and the work just keeps coming. As a leader, your job is to make decisions that help your team navigate the endless demands on their time – and to protect energy and resources for the actions that matter most.

The best way to do this is to take a deliberate pause (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly) and get clear on where you’re heading and how you’ll get there. Decide what you’ll say yes to and, just as important, begin to say no. Keep a list of low-value actions and nonpriority requests that you’ll decline or defer. With your newly freed-up time, you can:

  1. Meet with important stakeholders to explore business opportunities, align around strategy, build partnerships, an strengthen trust.
  2. Develop innovative solutions to persistent challenges.
  3. Take a more strategic approach.
  4. Diffuse a conflict before it becomes destructive.
  5. Hone your vision.
  6. Attend or host an industry event.
  7. Mentor a rising star.
  8. Bring your team together to build relationships, improve communication, increase collaboration, and align around priorities.
  9. Assess or pursue a new business opportunity.
  10. Build your brand as a proactive leader who thoughtfully applies time and energy.

If you’re like many of my clients, you’ll find it truly liberating to start saying no. Get started right away. You will immediately create the space and energy to drive meaningful results, foster innovation, accelerate growth, and lead your organization to a thriving new year.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Dr. Liz on Leadership. Each month, I will share new ideas, tools and advice to help you thrive in today’s ever-changing healthcare environment. Let me know what’s top of mind and I’ll answer your most pressing questions in future columns. Contact me at

For additional tools and thought leadership, check out my all-new website, And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Slow Down to Speed Up: Lead, Succeed, and Thrive in a 24/7 World!