Want to Build Momentum in Your Business? | The Melting Pot Newsletter | #87
HOW TO BUILD POWERFUL MOMENTUM IN YOUR BUSINESS
Are you re-thinking your entire approach to your business? You won’t be alone. The economic disruption of the pandemic is starting to bite. Many business owners are wondering if they need to change course or re-structure. One thing’s for sure. You’re going to need momentum behind whatever course of action you take.
A Harvard Business Review article from 2010, Roaring Out of Recession, reveals that three years after recession 17% of companies didn’t survive, 80% hadn’t regained their pre-recession growth and profitability and 9% of companies were actually performing better. Interestingly firms that cut costs faster and deeper than rivals didn’t necessarily flourish. They had the lowest probability—21%—of pulling ahead of the competition when times got better, according to the study.
Transformation doesn’t happen in one fell swoop. There’s no single big action, or killer innovation, or miracle moment. Instead, it’s more like relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel. Turn by slow turn, you gradually build momentum until, at last, it starts to spin for itself.
I often discuss this idea with new clients and suggest we look for flywheels in their business. It’s soon evident that they don’t exist. Revenue is flat or only growing at 1 or 2%. They may have a few repeat customers, but not many. When customers do repeat, they’re not buying the same things. There’s no mechanism for word of mouth referral and the quality of their service is adequate but not amazing. In short, their business is plodding along.
That’s not what you want right now. You need your business to be firing on all cylinders to survive and, hopefully, thrive in the future. So how do you do this? How do you build powerful momentum in your business?
Cultivating Company Culture in a Crisis with Melissa Daimler
How is your company culture looking? Worried that it’s taken a hit during the ongoing pandemic? What can you do to stop your best employees leaving? Who better to provide the answers to these questions than the doyenne of culture herself, Melissa Daimler.
Melissa cut her teeth at Adobe, Twitter and latterly, WeWork, leading their learning and development efforts globally. Today she helps organisations, predominantly tech firms in Silicon Valley, operationalise their culture.
“There’s just a lot of companies who are now realising having seen the downfall of WeWork and other companies that if you don’t pay attention to that [company culture], you know, things fall apart on the business side.”
In today’s episode, Melissa shares her thoughts on company culture and her model for how to make culture real in an organisation. Also how you take a value statement and turn it into a set of behaviours that you overlay with performance expectations.
“Make sure that if you have values, that they’re not just values on a wall, that they’re actually behaviours that you can see and experience in the daily workings of the company. And if that’s not true don’t even have them. Don’t bother.”
We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.
“Purpose is something that can be found but cannot be given” In this excellent episode, Bruce Daisley talks to London Business School professor Dan Cable about what work is going to look like in the future as we contemplate the fall out of coronavirus and homeworking. Clearly a lot of firms aren’t going to make it through this completely unprecedented situation and to some extent maybe these discussions might seem like first world problems. The intention is to help us understand how we can use this moment to make work better – never waste a good crisis.
Friday Pulse was never designed to pick up global trends — it’s a tool for building positive experiences across the microcultures of an organization. It emphasizes the team experience because we know from our data that there are as many microcultures in an organization as there are teams. It’s the blending of all these subcultures that creates the work experience.
For some time, the leaders I work with have known conceptually that they need greater organizational agility. They talk often about the increase in VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity), and the capabilities required to respond. But these conversations have sometimes felt a bit abstract or theoretical. Now, in the context of the novel coronavirus and its economic, social, personal, and political reverberations, such detachment seems almost absurd. How do you lead well amid such turbulence — whether such turbulence stems from the near-term challenges of the pandemic or from the need to tackle ongoing global issues such as reworking our energy infrastructure, managing cybersecurity and privacy, and expanding opportunity for all?
“Steinbrenner is like the first guy in at the crack of dawn. He sees my car, he figures I’m the first guy in,” George tells Jerry. “Then, the last person to leave is Wilhelm. He sees my car, he figures I’m burning the midnight oil. Between the two of them, they think I’m working an 18-hour day!” Since the period of the industrial revolution, we’ve used one primary scale to measure productivity: hours.
SCALING YOUR TECH BUSINESS BY DOMINIC MONKHOUSE
Calling all CEOs, Founders and Managing Partners! Learn valuable scale-up strategies in a brand new book by the UK’s top tech industry business coach, Dominic Monkhouse. Dom has a track record of scaling-up award-winning technology businesses, including two UK based companies from zero revenue to £30 million within five years. Now he is sharing the secrets behind his success in a new book, FREE to all Melting Pot subscribers. The download will be available very soon. Watch out for your copy!
Leaders already know that innovation calls for a different set of activities, skills, methods, metrics, mind-sets, and leadership approaches – it is well understood that creating a new business and optimizing an existing one are two fundamentally different management challenges. The real problem for leaders is doing both, simultaneously. How do you meet the performance requirements of the current business – one that is still thriving – while dramatically reinventing it? How do you foresee a change in your current model before a crisis forces you to abandon it? Vijay Govindarajan expands the leader’s innovation toolkit with a simple and proven method for allocating the organization’s energy, time, and resources – in balanced measure – across what he calls “the three boxes”: Box 1: The present – Keep the current business going, Box 2: The past – Forget what made the business successful in the past, Box 3: The future – Create the new model.
MEANINGFUL ACTION FOR MONDAY
Whether you think Boris could have done more to ease the lockdown and faster is irrelevant. He was signalling a return to work. Next week, get on the phone to your biggest clients, CEO to CEO. Ask some open questions – how is trading going for them and what are they planning to do? Just listen. And in the listening, you’ll often find an opportunity. Show empathy and build rapport. Consider matching their tone of voice and cadence. If they’re slow and reflective, be slow and reflective back. If they’re full of energy, be the same. If you’re on Zoom, mirror their body language. This is how you build strong relationships.