How to Kick the Curve

How do you fundamentally change your momentum? Is it innovation? Is it expanding into new markets? Is it charismatic leadership? How do you kick the curve? That’s the question Jim Collins answers in his second book, ‘Good to Great’, and what I want to talk to you about today.

7 Keys to Kick the Curve

In his book, Jim Collins explains how businesses change their momentum. Over the course of 15 years, he looked at businesses that had achieved adequate market success. Then they had a clear transition, and then they kicked the curve – meaning they went to three times market for the entire 15 years. Want to know what they did?

Disciplined People

It didn’t come down to charisma but rather, great leadership. The first bucket of activity that these companies all went through in their transition was creating (or finding) disciplined people. This meant two things. The first is what Collins calls, ‘Level Five Leadership’. This isn’t the charismatic leader; it’s somebody who creates leaders. The second is getting the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus.

Disciplined Thought

From disciplined people comes disciplined thought. That involves two things. Firstly, confronting your brutal reality. Understanding what’s working, what’s not, and why. The second thing comes from finding the focus, and this involves the deliberate intersection of three things:

Essentially, you need to focus on something that sits at the intersection of these three questions.

Disciplined Action

So far, we have disciplined people who think in a disciplined way – only then, can we have disciplined action. Again, this comes down to two things. The first is creating a culture of discipline. The second is using technology – not to create momentum, but to accelerate it.

Flywheel Momentum

The final piece is what Collins calls, ‘momentum’ – creating something for the business some kind of unstoppable flywheel momentum. In sales and marketing, I believe it isn’t so much about seeking momentum, it’s more about seeking rhythm. This means touching your market consistently enough (that’s the rhythm) so that you can create momentum.

Fundamentally, kicking the curve involves the following process:

  • Disciplined People
    • Level five leadership
    • Right people on the bus
  • Disciplined Thought
    • Confront your reality
    • Find your focus
  • Disciplined Action
    • A culture of discipline
    • Technology to accelerate momentum, not create it
  • Creating Flywheel Momentum through Rhythm

Or, if you’re more of a visual person we can view this process within the scope of creating flywheel momentum:

Where do you find the focus?

But if you only had one card to play out of all of this, it would be focus. We believe focus is the problem you solve for the market.

What problem are you collectively deeply passionate about? What problem do you genuinely believe you can become the best in the world at solving? What problem drives your profit engine?

You need to find that together and that’s the job of the Funnel Plan. Get Sales, Marketing, Finance, and Operations together and agree what that problem is. Then identify the strategy implied by that. If you have a Funnel Plan already, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, go to Funnelplan.com.

I hope you got lots of value out of today’s Funnel Vision Blog. We’ll have a new blog next week, same time, and same place. Until then, may your funnel be full and always flowing.

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Our thanks, this week to:

  • Jane Tyquin  for blog production
  • John Ang  for video production
  • Hugh Macfarlane  for scripting and presenting this week’s show