Is It Time To Fire Yourself Out Of A Cannon?

high jumpThere’s two guys. Each is standing on a box and holding one end of the same rope. The rope is ten feet off the ground. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get over the rope.

How do you do it? (You cannot tickle them to get them to lower the rope.)

Well, you could get a big step ladder, climb up and jump over. Or you could use a trampoline. Or, if you have the technique, you could pole vault. Or Fosbury Flop yourself over the rope.

Each of these approaches has their pros and cons. They will have their own relative success rates. Some need equipment – a trampoline, a pole. Some do not. But the point is they all work.

So far so good.

Now, the rope is one hundred feet in the air.  Don’t ask me how the guys did this, but they did.

How do you get over it? Trampoline? Step ladder? No. You need a new approach. Maybe a helicopter; or you could build a staircase; or fire yourself out of a cannon; or use a jet pack.

The point is the approaches that get you over the ten foot high rope don’t work with the one hundred foot high rope. They may work with a fifteen foot high rope, or maybe even a twenty foot high rope, but there will come a time when they are not up to the job. The current processes, technologies and approaches only get you so far. To hit the heights – the one hundred foot high rope –  you need new means.

It’s the same in business. Whatever it is you do now…your marketing; your strategising; your productivity; your product and service development; how you deliver your value; your logistics; your systems and processes; everything that makes up your business, or department:  each is either –

a) Inadequate

It can hardly get you over a one foot rope, never mind a ten foot rope. Your trampoline has lost its spring. Your Fosbury is more of a Fop than a Flop. Or,

b) Adequate

Adequate for your needs. Not over-engineered, or creaking at the seams. Sufficient. It does the job. It is reliable. Fit for purpose. Or,

c) Over-engineered.

It can get you over the one hundred foot rope. Even although you can see only the ten foot rope. This may be a good thing as you are prepared for the future. Or it may just be a cost, because helicopters are more expensive than trampolines.

You will probably have a mix of a, b and c in your business/organisation.

Here are some critical questions –

Q1 What do you do today to generate sales?

Q2 Can these activities generate a five-fold increase in sales?

Q3 If not, what changes do you have to make to these activities, or what new activities do you have to adopt to generate a five-fold increase in sales?

Q4 If you imagine increasing your sales five-fold over the next 2 to 5 years, what supporting systems and processes in your business will become inadequate and in what order?

Q5 How will you deal with the answer to Q4?

If you take the time to answer these five questions thoughtfully you will end up with the bones of a good growth strategy. You will be getting ready for the one hundred foot rope.

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2 Responses to Is It Time To Fire Yourself Out Of A Cannon?

  1. Scott Woodhead June 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    Very good Mark, I really like this analogy. Keep up the good work, love it!

  2. Mark Nugent June 28, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    Thanks Scott. Just checked out your new website – fabulous…as is your ethos and business approach. Well done.

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