Every so often, businesses build it, reach it. The M word. No, not magic. Momentum. A place where everything feels smooth. From sales to profits to new businesses, everything – as if being carried along by a tailwind – is at maximum efficiency. It almost feels like an unknown power propelling the business.
Slowly, indiscernibly, it tends to fade away. It may, or may not mark its return next year, or the one after that, or the one after, or five years down.
Much as can be said about it, growth momentum isn’t built on its own, it isn’t built in a day – the responsibility falls directly on the leadership. An effective leader ensures sustainable growth momentum with awareness and by spreading the culture top down.
Awareness is key. The leadership has to be aware of what initiated the momentum in the first place, and how to sustain it. If the momentum has just come and gone without greeting even a single person in the room, there is something so gravely wrong!
Perhaps, the strategy is too tepid. Perhaps the marketing spends ought to increase. Perhaps the sales are low because it is off season?
Culture eats strategy for lunch
It cannot be stressed upon enough – people are the biggest asset for an organisation. The culture in a company will decide its success or failure. If your people are happy, your balance sheet will be happy, as will your share prices.
The entrepreneurial spirit, the open-door culture, free flow of though & knowledge – all of these are crucial in maintaining culture. For leaders – practice what you preach and thou shalt succeed. Culture is built by leadership, and cascades down the hierarch – employees, much like children, follow not what they’re told but what they see happening around.
So, how does one ensure momentum through culture? The search for an answer may lead you to the Senior Leadership Program by XLRI in conjunction with The Second Wind by Times Group that says empowering teams, of course is the answer. The butterfly effect is real. The CEO empowers the President who in turn empowers the VP; the VP empowers the Senior Manager who in turn empowers her manager, who in turn makes the junior most executive feel as if every decision he takes, will impact the bottom-line of the organisation.
Voila! You’ve built yourself growth momentum you yourself cannot break!
As a leader, imbibing the each one-teach one policy goes a long way in an organisation. If each senior employee makes one junior other employee believe they’re the entrepreneur on whose shoulders the fate and the future of their organisation lasts, you’ve got yourself momentum. If each employee works as smartly as they work hard, you’ve got yourself momentum. If each employee is empowered to think and behave like a CEO, you’ve ensured momentum.
Allow room for mistakes, eliminate fear, encourage cooperation, not competition. Refuse to live by status quo. Ask your employees to create growth opportunities for themselves. Give your employees, and more importantly, yourself enough learning opportunities. It is only through constant learning that leaders evolve and transform themselves and their organisations. Create the wave of momentum. Build your wave and ride it!
Even Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon believes in continuous learning. ‘Part of company culture is path dependent – it’s the lessons you learn along the way’, he said.