42nd Street Company (#42stc)

Survival or opportunity?

By on October 21, 2013

In some companies you get the feeling that the main driver is survival. It’s as if the company is constantly caught up in the waterline, just trying not to drown.

If you are getting your head too deep under, you declare ‘burning platform’ and pull in a lot of effort to get back above the surface. After a while you are back in. It repeats again and again. Like a perfectly stable situation, where you are jumping up and down in the waterline. This seem to be the situation in a lot of companies today. The main driver is survival, as if that’s the only objective the organization can align behind. Once survival is not at stake – for a short while – no one agrees about anything and soon you are again struggling for survival.

Survival vs. Opportunity space

Survival vs. Opportunity space

At the other end of the scale, there is another type of company, which is constantly trying to perform to it’s maximum opportunity. As the opportunity space is huge and constantly expanding, this means a scenario of constant growth far above the waterline.

For any company not performing at it’s maximum opportunity, here are some interesting perspectives. The tactical choices made on a regular basis significantly impact how a company is performing, this is for example illustrated by the ‘Pareto rule’ claiming that by focusing on just 20% of what you had originally planned, you might be able to still achieve 80% of the benefit. Meaning that you get much better results with less effort. Thus, there are always things you can do – to do better or worse.

By smart choices, minor adjustments to daily tactics can lead to significant short term improvements.

For most companies struggling with survival on a regular basis, this implies that alternative scenarios exists, and that smarter approaches can lead to significant performance improvements, so that survival no longer is the main concern.

If you are able to keep your self at the waterline, then you are also able to get yourself above. The question is not if, but more how high above you can get.

As soon as survival is not the key concern, you will be guided by opportunity – how can you best grow your business? Who knows, the opportunity space is huge!

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