In business, when we set Big Hairy Audacious Goals, what we’re really saying is “I want it all”: revenue growth, healthy profits, market leadership, happy employees and work-life balance. But surely one or more of these objectives must be compromised in order to have the others? Maybe not.
Let’s break down what it takes to “have it all”. Here’s a simple equation:
Capacity refers to the human, financial, production and technical resources needed to achieve your growth objectives. When companies are planning for growth, they tend to spend a lot of time on questions of capacity.
But adding more resources takes time and can be expensive. Plus, capacity usually only scales linearly. When you’re looking for big improvements in business performance it’s velocity that you’re after.
Velocity refers to how effectively you use the capacity within your business. Access to timely information enables faster and better decision-making. Good organizational alignment enables decentralization and ensures efficient delegation of tasks. The right corporate culture fosters innovation across the organization. Simplicity in products and processes accelerates progress on all fronts. These factors contribute to getting things done quickly, without the expense and financial risk of investing in more capacity.
Of course, luck can’t be ignored when it comes to business success. But good fortune comes to those who are well prepared. We create our own luck when we have a clear business plan and engage enthusiastically with customers and potential partners. It’s also remarkable how tenacity and hard work seem to attract luck.
There are are only so many hours in the day. To have it all, you must use them wisely. Many companies have the capacity for major success but despite heroic effort, never manage to achieve it. It’s the ones that create velocity (and their own luck) that end up standing out rather than burning out.
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