The primary pre-requisite for achieving successful step growth

Dec 23, 2010

This week we’re looking at how you want to grow in 2011 – by step growth, linear growth, or a combination of both.Tuesday covered the first reason most organizations fail to achieve step growth: Senior management doesn’t know where to get it from, and yesterday we contrasted the resource needs for each.

Today I want to share the primary requirement for achieving effective step growth (assuming you get the PESTLE thing and have the necessary resources and patience). Here it is:

Master linear growth first.

Simple as that? Yep. Here’s why:

See, for most organizations (except those in Early Struggle and early Fun, for whom all growth is step growth), achieving a step goal pulls their focus away from the routine, mundane, day to day activities that are necessary to achieve linear growth. And unless you’re really good at dealing with multiple goal horizons – and only if your people are very practiced at it – as soon as everyone’s eyes see you put that new shiny exciting step goal up there, guess what happens?

Well, rearrange these words into a well-known phrase or sentence: “Eyes. Ball. Off. Take.” Before you know it, previously spinning plates are wobbling, then crashing to the ground. If you’re lucky, the step goal gets pulled and you retrieve your linear goal objectives. Worst case, you fail at both.

So – don’t include a substantive step goal in your growth strategy until you know (not guess) that your folks can do what’s necessary to achieve linear growth in their sleep and in the face of distraction.

How can you tell if you’ve reached that point? Simple – think back to the last time you faced a substantial crisis – one that threatened your organization’s well being.

How did your people handle it? Did they attack it systematically, rigorously, calmly? Or was everyone panicked, frozen, fumbling?

Of course, I’ve described two extremes – your experience was probably somewhere in between, but you get the point: setting and achieving a step growth goal requires from your people (and you) the same skill set as handling a crisis. If you can do that well, then you’re ready to implement a step goal.

Tomorrow: The straitjacket larger organizations place themselves in when attempting step goals.