If It Doesn’t Drive Your Flywheel, Just Say No

We recently had a great debate, with a couple of CEOs, about why it’s so hard to develop and sustain a powerful, highly effective growth strategy.

At the core of the discussion was how many CEOs with great businesses end up killing their own growth and financial performance.

What a discussion we had! I wish we had recorded it to share with others.

Too Much Excitement

In almost every case, it was because – in moments of excitement and opportunity – the CEO started to do doing too many things that were outside their core strategy.

For example, one company, just getting momentum in their first market, started in a second, and then got really excited about an opportunity in a third and fourth market. All the energy spent on a series of events, investments and dedicated executive time to chase markets three and four pulled focus away from markets one and two, which started to seriously falter.

After a bit of an awakening, they had to slash markets three and four, and get back to basics.

Double Down on the Basics

In all the other examples and stories we shared, there were two main reasons why companies failed:

    • They hadn’t crystallized or clarified their core strategy and what makes their business thrive
    • They lacked the discipline to stick to their core strategy, in moments of passion and opportunity.

They over- or under-invested time and resources and went a mile wide and an inch deep on their plans, when they should have doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on the core things that really worked in their business.

Do One Thing Well

Success lies in picking one thing and doing it very well.

In Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about hedgehogs and foxes, based on the ancient Greek parable “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”  His Hedgehog Principle is about doing one thing incredibly well, over and over again, to get better and better.

That approach works for people, too.

In his book The Social Animal, author David Brooks talks about research by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Dr. Angela Duckworth who found that successful people tend to be those who find and relentlessly chase one future goal, in contrast to those who, as they dart from one interest to another, are much less likely to excel at any of them.

Not Every Opportunity Is for You

Opportunity will always knock on your door – and it’s human nature to get excited, especially for entrepreneurial leaders.

But that doesn’t mean you have to answer.

You’ve got be focused on what you absolutely must do to win, in the next three years. Otherwise, your strategy and your performance – whether in terms of growth or profitability – will suffer.

Simple, Guiding Principles

That’s why our team works with companies to implement simple tools – like Jim Collins’ Hedgehog and Flywheel – to clarify and crystallize the who and what of a winning strategy.

Core principles, done with excellence, guide you to make the right choices. The discipline to do so is up to you.

The Challenge

    • What do you need to do to make your winning strategy clearer?
    • How could you make better decisions to ensure you stick to your strategy?

If you need help to stay on track, call us.

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Lawrence & Co’s work focuses on sustainable and enhanced growth for you and your business. Our diverse and experienced group of advisors can help your leaders and executive teams stay competitive through the use of various learning tools including workshops, webinars, executive retreats, or one-to-one coaching.

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