Great companies realize that there is no one single event that catapults the company into greatness. Rather, it’s a series of cumulative actions that add up to sustained and amazing results. In Good to Great, Jim Collins refers to this as the flywheel.
The flywheel is huge, heavy and creaky. It takes a lot of effort to move it an inch, but you keep pushing. Eventually, the flywheel begins to move until you get the first revolution. After continuous effort, the flywheel begins to pick up speed making rotation after rotation until at some point it’s using it’s own weight to continue the progress. That’s the break through.
The Flywheel Effect
Getting the flywheel to move in the right direction takes more than just an initial company meeting and a party to announce your plans. Arguably, hoopla and motivation are less likely to get the wheel turning. Instead consider using your vision and hedgehog concept to get started. Here are a few steps to implement as you build the flywheel effect:
- Take steps forward that are consistent with your vision and hedgehog
- Accumulate visible results
- Make sure there are roles to be filled because employees will want to be involved
- Encourage participation as the flywheel builds momentum
Everything that we’ve talked about so far in our book study on Good to Great is a piece of the buildup-to-breakthrough flywheel effect. The key is to be consistent and continue to build upon the stuff that works so that the positive effects are magnified.
Building a great company takes a long time. According to the study, the average time for a Good to Great Company to achieve greatness was seven years. There are no overnight success stories. Most overnight success stories are about twenty years in the making. Are you willing to take the next step to become great? I’d love to help you get started.