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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

  • December 22, 2010
  • minute read

Why you plan for step growth but don't achieve it 

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In the first of this series of articles about organizational growth, I asked you to consider how you wanted to grow your organization – by step growth, linear growth, or a combination of both.

During this brief series, I’m sharing the main reasons I see organizations fail to achieve step growth, and from that, perhaps help you determine which route is best for you (by the way, what I’m sharing is equally appropriate to an organization, division, department, project, group, team or even a career, for that matter).

In the first of the series, we started with the first reason most organizations fail to achieve step growth: Senior management doesn’t know where to get it from.

In this article, I want to show you the second reason why most organizations – even those which get the PESTLE thing – fail to achieve step growth.

You can deduce the reason by comparing these two graphs:

Effort required to achieve linear growth

Effort required to achieve linear growth

Effort required to achieve step growth

Effort required to achieve step growth

Look at the first graph…then at the second graph. Then at the first graph. Then the second graph.

When you’re growing your organization through linear (i.e. iterative) growth, the effort required pretty much maps the expected outputs – if you put in the right (iteratively, incrementally larger) amount of work on a curve, then you get linear growth back in return.

"The reason most organizations fail to achieve step growth is because the senior management team doesn’t know where to get it from." - Les McKeown, Founder and CEO, Predictable Success

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Everybody works solidly behind the scenes and you get the results you need (a highly generalized description of linear growth, but you get the picture).

Compare that to the ‘effort required’ line for step growth.

Here the organization is permanently out over its skis – in other words, the effort required to get the required ‘step’ return is always being paid forward (on research, piloting, testing, refining, branding, educating…all the pre-investment that step growth requires).

As a result, most organizations that reach for step growth eventually get tired, or broke, or panicked because it feels like they’re putting out more and more resources without seeing the required return – or at least, not seeing it soon enough.

So…we could start examining good stuff like setting clear budgets and goals, and milestones, and ROI estimates, and gantt charts, and … well, more tools than you can shake a stick at – but that isn’t the point of this post.

The point is, that if you’re not relaxed about (or can’t afford to) push out resources ahead of results, then step growth – even if you grok the PESTLE stuff – probably isn’t for you.

Or at least, not as a major plank of your growth strategy.

Anyways, you don’t need to make your mind up just yet – next time we’ll take a look at the first prerequisite for achieving step growth versus linear growth. You can decide then.

What About You? What steps are you taking to achieve step growth for your organization?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!


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