Top Dog Blog

Veterans in industry and the public sector share insights, tips, and trends in Effective Leadership


April 2, 2018

The Business “Hull Speed”

For those boaters out there, you may already understand this concept; however, I will still explain. We have all seen that little wave created by water displacement at the front of a moving boat. A boat’s hull speed is the point at which the boat is going fast enough that it begins to climb its own wave. In other words, it is the point of diminishing returns for the boat’s power. The boat now must work harder to maintain the same speed, given that it must climb its own wave.

Successfully Make the Climb

Our businesses also have a hull speed, a point at which pushing the business goes from something healthy and productive, to something that can quickly become detractive. As leaders, this requires careful monitoring. We often want to drive such great results that we don’t realize what else we might be doing. We must practice the patience it takes to go through the climb. While leading and pushing the business, we must also be listening intently to the cues around us – when do you begin to climb that wave? Are you creating the vision and strategy with hull speed in mind? Are you setting a culture that allows for patience or pushes to diminishing returns? Are you conditioning and training your business to increase its hull speed? Once you step back, look, and listen to the business, hull speed will be obvious; and then, you can figure out the best tools to successfully make the climb.