Leveraging the Flywheel Concept in Your Business

The Flywheel is a very simple and potent tool designed to make a business more powerful.

flywheel concept definition

Jim Collin’s research, done over years, shows that the Flywheel is one of his most impactful concepts. He also did a separate monograph Turning the Flywheel – a quick and excellent read – to help you understand the Flywheel of other companies and to lead you to yours.

With a Flywheel clearly and accurately articulated, companies are able to make better decisions about resource allocation and goal setting to improve the power of the entire enterprise. The ultimate benefit comes when the Flywheel powers itself, over time, and the energy created, within itself, makes it stronger and stronger.

Here are some other podcasts and articles you may find helpful:



A Flywheel Concept Example: Amazon

amazon flywheel concept

  • Because of lower prices on more offerings, we can’t help but increase customer visits and
  • Because of increased customer visits we can’t help but attract more third-party sellers and
  • Because we have more third-party sellers, we can’t help but expand the store and extend distribution and
  • Because of that we can’t help but grow revenues per fixed costs and
  • Because of that we can’t help but low offer lower prices on more offerings.

Easy to Say. Harder to do.

After working with dozens of companies on this, and after workshops and two-day private sessions in Jim’s lab, we found that Flywheels are often a lot harder to figure out than they first appear, so it’s important to:

Take your time

  • People miss the point – and the power – when they try to make their Flywheel too simple.
  • Plan on multiple sessions over a few months, with your executive team, to really crystallize your Flywheel. Let it sit for a while, then come back to it, again. Iterate until you’re convinced that each one is truly a “we can’t help but…” 

The Key: Each of the five or six aspects of the Flywheel need to drive or transfer energy to the next one. Ideally, you should be able to say, “because of A, we can’t help but get B…”. It’s like gravity when one thing just automatically falls to the next.

Gather insights

  • Pull insights from your Hedgehog principle and SMaC list and review your past strategic plans to look for the things on which you constantly focus.

The Challenge

  • If you haven’t completed your Flywheel, devote time to work on it.
    • Ask your team to read the book, then take a couple of hours to work on a draft, ideally with a facilitator.
    • Plan to come back three or four times, over a six-month period, to make sure you get it nailed.

For more, listen to Episode 117 of The Growth Whisperers.

Our team has helped many companies with their Flywheel, so if you need help, please let us know.

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