Nearly every company has experienced a period of prolonged financial difficulty. Growth does not occur in a straight line, but rather in a series of growth curves similar to product lifecycle curves where growth accelerates, then slows and levels off.
The challenge is to anticipate the slow-down and get onto a new growth curve before the plateau. Once on a plateau, it is difficult to see a new growth curve. Better to anticipate it first.
But what causes a growth curve to slow in the first place? The vast majority of growth plateaus or stall points are caused not by economic downturns, but rather by poor strategic choices the most prevalent of which is continuing to ride one strategy as if it will last a long time, and getting solely focused on day-to-day operations. When that happens you get blind-sided by market disruptions caused by market or technical innovations or entirely new business models.
It is the responsibility of leaders and executives to take the lead in thinking strategically about the business. The best companies implement an ongoing strategic process to continually surface strategic insights on a regular basis. It’s not a once-a-year event, but rather a disciplined and regular focus. Monthly is good. Amazon does it weekly.
That is the way to spot early-on impending growth slow-downs, plateaus, and stall-points.
What is your process for continually surfacing strategic insights? Are you able to make adjustments to business strategy, not just operational decisions? How good are your strategic thinking skills, and are you continually sharpening them?
Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
I am a trusted advisor to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.
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