In our previous blog posts, we have touched on market misalignment, outgrowing your management, and outgrowing your money, to name a few. Going through all these trials may have resulted in your business losing something you didn’t realize was missing: momentum.
In the beginning, rapid growth companies possess an incredible momentum. However, going through No Man’s Land causes this momentum to disappear, leaving the business at a standstill. To get out of No Man’s Land, the company must find ways to generate momentum again. Keep in mind the other navigational rules we have discussed in prior blogs, as implementing these rules will give a sense that your company is heading in the right direction and regaining momentum.
It’s important to remember that momentum is not the product of following these rules only. To survive No Man’s Land, leaders must manage the company’s culture and decision making process to assure the feeling of forward motion exists at all times, even when survival seems impossible.
While wading through the challenges that come from this rapid growth, it is important not to neglect the company’s morale and emotional wellbeing. Money, experienced managers, and a good business model are critical if a company wants to transition through No Man’s Land; however, these assets alone are not enough.
Entrepreneurs must be sure to maintain a sense of forward momentum, even when the outlook for the company doesn’t look bright. Although momentum isn’t measureable or tangible, the feeling of moving forward brings about actual change. Because of this, the presence or absence of momentum makes all the difference for a company in the stages of transition.
So what exactly is this momentum thing we’ve been talking about? The dictionary defines it as “the force of motion”, while in physics it is described as “the mass of a body multiplied by its speed.” According to Doug Tatum, author of No Man’s Land, “Momentum in business can be viewed as institutional self-esteem.” When entrepreneurs speak about momentum, they are referring to positive energy grounded in the optimistic expectation that a company’s future will become brighter than it currently is. For a company to experience this momentum, they must have a good business model, competent management, sufficient finances and alignment with customers. Without these traits, it will never make its momentum profitable.
So, how do you go about cultivating this momentum? Unfortunately, there is no single rule or set of rules. Rather, the manner in which momentum is cultivated is influenced by qualities of an individual’s leadership style. There are some general guidelines leaders of emerging growth companies in No Man’s Land can follow to create momentum:
- Optimism – it is very difficult for a leader to get a company off the ground, much less through No Man’s Land, if the leader is not optimistic. No Man’s Land pushes the entrepreneurs’ emotions to the limits. Entrepreneurs must have an attitude to do whatever it takes without losing determination or hopefulness. They also need to have a can-do attitude that employees can depend on and mirror. It is important to have someone positive to look to when times get tough.
- Clarity in Decision Making – How are decisions being made and who is even making them? Are company values being withheld in these decisions? Are goals and ambitions being reached? As discussed in the market misalignment blog, the company needs to have a clear, defined and successful pattern for decision making that also defines the company’s culture. Do your employees have confidence in the way decisions are being made? Without this confidence in the decision making process, you will not be able to generate momentum.
- Give the Company a Boost – If your company is deteriorating, don’t wait around for someone to come and declare it dead. Instead, put the heartbeat back into the business using the following three methods:
- Change up the circle of decision makers and make sure it can be managed.
- Implement something radical and fun, even unpredictable. This can help inject some life into the company.
- Make new promises to customers (not too many that you stop fulfilling them) from time to time and have staff members create, develop and implement new processes required to meet the customer’s needs.
So there you have it, a general discussion on what momentum is, why your business needs it, and how to get it back if it’s gone missing. Getting through No Man’s Land is a huge commitment, and having the guidelines to get through it will make the journey a little easier.