The Momentum of Change
All of the companies that were written about in the book “Good to Great”-Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins, developed what is a called a “Fly Wheel Effect” concerning the attainment of their vision, or BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).
The critical difference in my view, between the Great Organizations and the “Almost Great Ones” (AGO’s) is that the Great organizations were more deliberate about their commitment to success.
With a clear Vision, a “Hedgehog Concept”, in their mind’s eye, the great organizations begin the deliberate process of constructing a plan to become the organization they envision. Now causing that to happen is very difficult at first. But if commitment is strong and the plan “comes out of “ the Vision, bit by bit, momentum starts to become established. The book uses the process of getting a huge fly wheel moving. If the Leadership sets the vision, and is deliberate in planning for it and deliberate about implementing the plan (which begins with WHO, not what), then slowly, but SURELY, momentum begins to build.
If the Vision and Values are allowed to “inform” the plan, and the plan is executed by the right people, the organization starts to “take on” the actualization of the vision, the BHAG, at least the first part of it. The great people who work in your organization start to take psychological ownership of the plan. Because this collective ownership is powerful, it produces synergy, a natural working-together that is greater than the sum of the parts. Slowly at first, people will begin to take initiative. And it will be the RIGHT KIND of initiative, producing the right kinds of outcomes. And this momentum that is slowly but surely created begins to build, and the plan takes on LIFE apart from the leadership. And over time the Fly Wheel begins to spin without the force pushing on it and the organization’s engine starts to purr.
You can walk into a place where the fly wheel is turning and you will know it right away. It is a magical thing. The goal for the leaders is to keep the flywheel spinning. But they must realize that applying their own force (Level 4 Leadership) is not the right approach. Once motion becomes perpetual, different tactics are needed.