The bad news: it requires a lot of work, some early struggle, includes a period of fun, and finally a trip through some white-water to get there.
How do I know? I read Predictable Success, an exceptional book by Les McKeown – the preeminent leader in the study of predictable success – based on Les’s experience launching and managing more than 40 businesses as well as his study of hundreds of businesses that he helped launch as co-founder of an incubation company.
I’m thrilled to announce that Les will be joining Steve Woodruff and me as our guest-host at Leadership Chat tomorrow night, March 22nd! We’ll focus on the topic, “Why leaders fail,” and Les will share his insights gained from his vast experience and from the Predictable Success Growth Cycle itself.
What was the most glaring – and most important – take-away in the book for me? The fact that leaders can be brilliant, visionary, values-driven, focused, excellent communicators, loyal to their teams and entirely committed to achieving the goals of the organization and still fail because they don’t recognize or understand where the organization itself lies in its life cycle.
So, what exactly does this Predictable Success Growth Cycle look like?
Important Points to Know About the Growth Cycle
- Not every organization makes it through all seven stages
- It’s possible (and according to Les, quite common) to drop back to a previous stage – this was a huge eye-opener for me as I realized this was happening with a few of my clients!
- Some organizations die at a certain stage
- It is not possible to skip a stage. You have to go through the white-water to get to predictable success…
- But it is possible for organizations to remain in Predictable Success indefinitely! This, I will posit, is the “Holy Grail” for organizations…
A Look at the Predictable Success Growth Cycle:
- In Early Struggle the two main challenges are (1) Making sure there is enough cash to keep going and (2) clearly establishing that there is a market for your product or service
- More than two-thirds of all organizations don’t make it out of Early Struggle.
- When you’ve broken through Early Struggle you get to Fun! Your key focus now moves from cash to sales and the business builds exponentially in a time of rapid, first-stage growth.
- Here was another eye-opener for me: It’s in Fun that the organization’s myths and legends are built and the “Big Dogs” emerge.
- Just as you were really starting to enjoy all that Fun, you hit Whitewater. The organization becomes complex and the emphasis shifts from sales to profitability.
- To achieve sustained, profitable growth you’re now required in Whitewater to put in place consistent processes, policies and systems which is often harder than thought, and implementing decisions and making them stick becomes incredibly difficult.
- Whitewater is where organizations and leaders often have an identity crisis and suffer a lack of confidence.
- Those who successfully navigate Whitewater make it to Predictable Success – the prime stage in your organization’s growth where you set and consistently achieve your goals and objectives with a predictable and consistent degree of success.
- When organizations shift too far toward depending on process and policies and there is a decline in creativity, risk taking and initiative then they’ve moved out of Predictable Success into the Treadmill where a lot of energy is being expended and there is no forward movement. This is probably very familiar to many of you!
- It’s in the Treadmill that there is an emphasis on data over action and when good people start to leave – sometimes even the founder.
- Without any effort to get out of the Treadmill, organizations will fall into The Big Rut where process and administration are more important than action and results, and where the organization loses its ability to be self-aware.
- And then there is the Death Rattle – a final chance at life through bankruptcy or acquisition – before the organization dies in its present form.
So what are the keys to getting to, and staying in, Predictable Success? What steps should a leader take when they are not in Predictable Success but are committed to getting there?
Join us for Leadership Chat tomorrow night on Twitter at 8:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time to find out!
Les, Steve and I will be there along with the Leadership Chat Community – and you are all invited! Simply use the #LeadershipChat hash tag to follow along and to join the conversation. We look forward to seeing you there!
You can find me on Twitter at @LisaPetrilli and on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/lisapetrilli. I look forward to seeing you there!
To hire me, email me at [email protected].
Photo is Buds of Almond by halfrain.