Updated: Nov 27, 2019
Push, push, push. Is that the only way to create the flywheel effect
Imagine being a kid for a moment. One thing would set the hormones racing for all the wrong reasons. It’s not what you might be thinking. It’s the phrase: ‘Because I said so; that’s why.’
You know that was the answer to: ‘Why can’t I go, have, see, do…’
It’s like a train hitting the buffers. There’s just a force hitting an immovable object and it may well stop velocity but it destroys it too. There’s no debate, no compromise, no reasoning no collaboration. When was ‘because I said so’ a satisfactory answer to anything?
Business can replicate that negative parent/adolescent relationship. Management decides on a strategy. It’s signed, sealed and delivered to the team with no negotiation. When’s the last time you experienced that? Frustrating isn’t it? Any questions, observations, suggestions or creativity are viewed with suspicion as if they are demonstrating negativity rather than interest or creativity.
So what changes can be made? How can you get your team to take up your ideas and get that flywheel moving?
Well, consider these ideas for a moment:
Have you joined the dots between the values of your business and the goals?
Have you created a simple message that distills the vision?
Have you included everyone in your communication so everyone knows the message?
Have you kept your message uppermost in your team’s mind?
Have you explained and discussed just why and how this will benefit everyone in the organisation?
This might sound obvious and even uninspired but consider whether your last decision process took into account ALL those bullet points.
Were you collaborative or dictatorial?
Did you give people time to comment and develop a response to your idea?
Were you open-minded to different approaches?
Have people given up expressing their opinions for a quiet life?
Why would you ignore collaborative approaches? If everyone working with and for you understands the core vision of the company it’s a good thing, right? If they can actually see the benefits for them too that will also be beneficial? If they can truly believe in your product, brand or service, then it’s going to be much easier to be an advocate. So if the team can tangibly ‘get’ the vision then you are much closer to total enterprise alignment and the flywheel begins to gain a little momentum.
Take time to discuss and plan it’s not a waste. It seems straightforward enough BUT the temptation to stop talking and start acting can be too great. Discussion; bringing people into ‘jaw, jaw, jaw’ can seem like a waste of time. ‘We need to get on and make progress’ is often the mantra. Yet time spent explaining and exploring how the vision is actually a process, not an event, will change the whole culture of a business. It’s this confidence, knowledge, cooperation and understanding that helps the flywheel turn more easily with a lot less effort.
Let’s revise the Flywheel Effect. The definition is:
"A heavy revolving wheel in a machine used to increase the machine's momentum and thereby provide greater stability or a reserve of available power."
Without one, there is uneven power distribution. However, with a flywheel the torque is ‘even’; this is because the inertia of the flywheel maintains power. This is what we are after in business. So many stop and start, momentum is lost and it’s the devil’s own job to get the whole things started again. So why expend energy on something that with a little thought and a change in approach can be avoided. It’s much better to spend energy on a change in culture so everyone is working together. That way the flywheel will help maintain power and movement and that’s what every organisation needs regardless of size.
Consider these big business examples. Think about powerful brands such as Nandos, Thorntons or Starbucks. Over a period of time, they have all developed a very specific offering. We have come to rely on their branding and expect a certain product every time. What’s interesting is that they’ve built on that expectation not by building bigger stores but by placing their products in other places to tempt us to replicate the experience elsewhere. The flywheel has gained momentum and it keeps on turning with little additional effort, unlike the efforts we expended to get it moving in the first place.
Therefore instead of grinding to a halt and achieving an about turn, consider if there’s another way to keep the momentum going and take advantage of the flywheel effect.
Leadership and the Flywheel Effect Terry Starbucker
Good to Great Jim Collins
How Starbucks does it better Business Insider