The Power of Momentum for Igniting Exceptional Growth
- Apr 8, 2008
Where's the Impetus?
Momentum. Most businesses get it at some point: the impression that everything they undertake succeeds effortlessly, as if they're being carried along by a tailwind that increases their efficiency and propels them on to exceptional growth.1
Some hold on to it. Most don't. Slowly, imperceptibly, the tailwind turns around and the momentum disappears, without anyone quite realizing what has happened. The company is still growing, but not as strongly as before, not as efficiently. Everyone's maxing out, but it seems like there's molasses in the works. Sound familiar?
Sooner or later, it hits you in the face. Imagine you are meeting up with a senior analyst whose opinion counts with some of your company's biggest investors. You think you're on safe ground—after all, your company is doing better than the competition. But the analyst is in full gimlet-eyed, illusion-killing mode. "That's nothing to crow about," she says. "Yeah, you've got reasonable growth, but it's nothing exceptional. You're a safe bet, nothing more. Okay, I might tell my mom to buy, but then she's happy with inflation plus one. The way we see it, you're really grinding it out. We reckon the strain's getting harder, too. There's no impetus—no momentum."
Words like that can really take the gloss off a day. The next time you gather your team, you don't congratulate them on beating their targets—you want more. Sure, our results are up, you say, but that's not enough—where's the impetus? When are we going to do something exceptional? With all the resources at your disposal, when are you going to start building some momentum?
The team members look at their papers. Then Paul, an anxious member of your team, looks up and says: "Okay. Got any ideas about how?" What are you going to say?