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To Grow Rapidly, Don't Be Misaligned and Cast Adrift

Feb 26, 2008
Every organization would like to be larger and more effective. A major barrier to such progress comes when the people in the organization are not agreed upon the values which they are supposed to follow.

The leader of an enterprise or organization may think that she or he has a clear idea of what the organization's values require that each person do in order to adapt to the irresistible forces. At the same time, no one else may have a clue.

Let's look at an example. Consider one of the fastest-growing consumer services ever. The operation went from zero to over $1 billion in revenues in very little time.

The CEO was concerned because he was having trouble getting agreement from his key executives about how to implement the next steps in the company's growth. The business was facing irresistible forces that meant that product line quickly needed to be broadened. The CEO brought in an advisor to help him address the situation.

The consultant privately interviewed each member of the management team. Each one agreed what the irresistible force was, and that adding new products faster was the answer. However, none of them agreed on how that product expansion should occur. In addition, each described some other member or members of the team as being opposed to this product proliferation. Not only was there no alignment in the management team, there was even no alignment about where there was misalignment.

The CEO convened a two-day meeting to address the issues, facilitated by the advisor. In the course of that meeting, the top management team was surprised to learn that they did agree: Product proliferation needed to accelerate.

When everyone realized that all agreed that product proliferation had to accelerate, the group rapidly began to align itself into a direction to pursue that proliferation. By the end of two days, the necessary agreement to implement the new direction had developed.

In the next six months, the business grew faster than ever before and added more new services than in the previous three years combined. The top executives started enjoying their work more, and even started liking each other (in their ignorance of each other's views, they had initially reacted negatively to each other due to the falsely-perceived disagreements concerning what to do about the irresistible force).

I have often found that there is a consensus in every organization about what needs to be done and what values should be pursued. But most leaders have failed to discover that consensus and share it as a way to encourage more alignment . . . and progress.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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