Good to great transformations don’t happen in one fell swoop says Jim Collins. Collins uses the concept of a fly wheel (a massive metal disk mounted horizonally on its axle, 30 feet in diameter and 5000 lbs).  The first pushes to turn the wheel take a lot of energy and the wheel inches forward. Add lots more energy and many more turns and at some point—breakthrough! Momentum kicks into gear and the heavy weight turns the wheel on its own. 

Think of it.  World Cup players don’t put on their soccer boots for a few hours a week and go out to score history making goals. Instead they practice, compete and are coached for years (these are all turns of the wheel). Sadly, even the momentum of the flywheel didn’t assure victory for the Brazilians, Italians or Argentinians this time ’round.

The flywheel is pertinent to you and your company.  Perhaps you dream of being an “overnight successes” on the net.  You think that a brilliant marketing campaign, a great peice of press coverage, a lucky break or innovation will catapult you and your company to riches.  This is foolhardy thinking at best.  Overnight success is rarely, if ever, overnight success.  We just don’t pay attention to the steps that were taken to get there, preferring instead to focus on the tipping point. This kind of thinking will usually put you in Collin’s doom loop rather than the fly wheel. Though with this kind of thinking, you might not even get to be good, let alone great.

So how do you get on the fly wheel and avoid the doom loop?   You’re not sure?  I wasn’t either.  Fortunately, Collins has a comprehensive comparison list.  Take an inventory.  Face the brutal reality.  What path are you on?  Do you want to be Good to Great or Good to Dead?

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