I am really beginning to dislike the phrase “hunker down.” I hear it so often these days. It’s not that I don’t think people need to be diligent in their thinking or actions, but to “hunker down” seems so short-sighted. So, for those of you who are seizing opportunities during this difficult time, I am going to remind you of the Flywheel concept from Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great.”
As a refresher, the flywheel is a “massive metal disk mounted horizontally on an axle, about 30 feet in diameter, 2 feet thick, and weighing about 5,000 pounds.” Collins says that it’s your job to turn this wheel, even though it is hard in the beginning, and get it going as fast and long as possible. Turning this flywheel is like moving a company in a way that it will go from being good to great. The interesting piece of this concept is that it is never just one defining action, one killer innovation, or lucky break that makes it happen. It is all about the total momentum of a team, focused on an agreed upon outcome that delivers the results.
As you know, with every positive there is a negative. So, if a company, team, or individual decides not to grab on to the Flywheel, they inevitably end up on the Doom Loop. Doom Loop adopters believe that speed is of the essence, even when there is very little thought given to the plan. They believe it is important to embrace the most recent fads and often end up changing course mid-project in hopes for the next big breakthrough. They are looking for the “quick” fix.
I find this concept critical at this stage in our economy. It is tempting to look for short term results with real estate, benefits, and employees when in fact what we need to be doing is reminding ourselves to stay focused. Teamwork, consistency, and a common goal is the key to the Flywheel!