Is Speed The Only Important Thing?
Everyone knows that the Cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal – 70 mph, no sweat! And as we all know from the National Geographic television documentaries, it is speed that makes the Cheetah such a fearsome hunter, right?
Wrong! Turns out that the Cheetah rarely pulls out all the stops. Most of the time, they are cruising at half-speed in pursuit of prey. And, as we shall see, this new knowledge has lessons for design and construction firms.
First, the research. In a recent study and over the course of nine months, a research team observed 367 Cheetah hunting runs. Top speed 58 mph, but the Cheetah only covered a small distance at that speed. Most of the time they were lolling around at an average speed of 30 mph during their hunting forays.
What gives Cheetahs their true skill in the field, it turns out, is not their speed alone, but speed matched with agility. “The hunt is much more about maneuvering, about acceleration, about ducking and diving to capture prey,” according to the researchers!
Cheetahs generate up to four times the acceleration power of racehorses. The researchers found that the Cheetah can slow down by 9 mph in a single stride, which enables them to make tight turns to track their elusive prey.
In short, its agility, not speed that spells success: “That sort of end phase when they are maneuvering, when they are turning sharply, when they are stopping and starting, is when the prey will escape or not escape.”
All well and good for the Cheetah, but what does this mean to us who are building custom homes?
For one thing as builders, we have had it drilled into our heads (mostly by our clients) that speed of delivery is the ultimate in performance. Speed is important, but not everything. For the Cheetah it is dogged persistence not breakneck speed that ultimately wins the day.
We as builders must be able to go all out when called upon to do so – but not at the sacrifice of other important factors. Simply completing the project quickly is worthless if it produces shortfalls in quality and client satisfaction.
The ability to maneuver quickly, to change direction on the fly – just as the Cheetah does – is another vital characteristic. To be successful you have to be able to duck and dive, solving problems quickly as they arise!
Finally the Cheetah research tells us that, while the quick acceleration is a virtue, the ability to decelerate on a dime may be even more useful. This is especially true at the start of a project when everyone is chomping at the bit. This may be the best time to slow down, get everyone on the same page, and work out as many kinks as possible before they become obstacles.
For any questions about our unique Design Build process give us a call or let us follow up with you!
Diamante Custom Homes
5139 N. Loop 1604 West, Suite 102
San Antonio, TX 78249
(210) 341-6430 - phone
(210) 568-4514 - fax
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