Look around you at the people and organizations that are making great things happen. How are they doing so well? Chances are, they’re great because they’ve been faithful and consistent for the long haul. Jim Collins (Good to Great) found that for great companies, the achievement of any phenomenal success “follows a predictable pattern of buildup and breakthrough. Like pushing on a giant, heavy flywheel, it takes a lot of effort to get the thing moving at all, but with persistent pushing in a consistent direction over a long period of time, the flywheel builds momentum, eventually hitting a point of breakthrough.” We don’t hear much about these organizations when they’re grunting it out, building concrete results. By the time they’ve hit their stride, they’ve been at it a while.
Not-so-great organizations and people tend toward a different pattern – Collins calls it the doom loop. Instead of gathering momentum through a consistent push in a single direction, they try to bypass buildup and jump right away to the big breakthrough. When they get poor results, they jump to the next big thing. It’s all froth – lots of back-and-forth action with little substance. They failed to maintain a consistent direction, and as a result, they didn’t go anywhere.
What’s working in your life or your organization? What are some ways you can focus more energy there – push more in that direction – to build up momentum?
If you’ve seen examples of the flywheel or the doom loop, please leave a comment.