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Strategic Discipline Blog

Accelerate Momentum – Score Your Flywheel

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, May 13, 2019

Amazon Flywheel Part 1Why did Jeff Bezos describe Amazon’s Flywheel in Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon as Amazon’s “secret sauce?”

Discovering your Flywheel brings clarity to your business. 

Your Flywheel provides to critical Growth Factors:  Focus & Compounding.

Each component in your Flywheel provides clarity. Focus your growth efforts on these elements to create more momentum. The more you achieve this, the greater your compounding.

If you’re new to this blog, we’ve been sharing insights from Jim Collins’ latest book Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great.

Previous Flywheel blogs:

Score Your Flywheel – Accelerate Momentum

Scoring each component in your flywheel identifies how and where you need to focus to accelerate your momentum.scoring Judges-1

The very nature of a flywheel—it depends upon getting the sequence right and that every component depends on all the other components—means that you simply cannot falter on any primary component and sustain momentum. If you have six components in your flywheel, and you score your performance in each from 1 to 10. What happens if your execution scores are 9, 10, 8, 3, 9, and 10?

Your entire flywheel stalls at the component scoring 3. To regain momentum, you need to bring that 3 up to at least an 8.

In my Flywheel discovery workshops with customers, the scoring process always brings an immediate “Aha!”

“Aha’s” require you to focus on the low scoring component(s) in your Flywheel. You need to execute better!

To achieve momentum, get these scores up!

Properly conceived and executed, your flywheel creates both continuity and change.

You need to stay with a flywheel long enough to get its full compounding effect.

At the same time, to keep the flywheel spinning, you need to continually revive, and enhance each component.

Genius of the AND

Genius of the And-1In Built to Last, Collins and Jerry Porras observed those who build enduring great companies reject the “Tyranny of the OR” (the view that things must be either A OR B but not both). Instead, they liberate themselves with the “Genius of the AND.” Instead of choosing between A OR B, they figure out a way to have both A AND B.

When it comes to the flywheel, you need to fully embrace the Genius of the AND, sustain the flywheel AND renew the flywheel.

Stalled or Stuck Flywheel

This same “Aha” moment customers received when identifying their Flywheel, explains why your Flywheel is stuck or stalled.  

  • Possible explanation #1: The underlying flywheel is just fine, but you’re failing to innovate and execute brilliantly on every single component; the flywheel needs to be reinvigorated. In our Flywheel workshops most of the time one or several components are scored several points lower than the components that are doing well. It’s not news to anyone.  Suddenly it becomes more imperative to invest resources and people to elevate these components in order to achieve momentum and accomplish the growth you are missing.
  • Possible explanation #2: The underlying flywheel no longer fits reality and must be changed in some significant way. It’s imperative that you make the right diagnosis. Since we’re constructing Customer Flywheels in our workshops this has not been the case yet, however it may be the reason we’re meeting, since the businesses momentum has stalled, and it’s time to identify how to regain momentum.

Bullets,_then_CannonballsFire Bullets Then Cannonballs – Extend Your Flywheel

Collins found a frequent pattern in the great companies in all his research studies.  They start by being successful in a specific business arena, making the most of their early big bets. Shortly after they make a conceptual shift from “running a business” to turning a flywheel. Over time, they extend thier flywheel by firing bullets, then cannonballs. They crank the flywheel in their first arena of success, while simultaneously firing bullets to discover new things that might work, and as a hedge against uncertainty.

In Turning the Flywheel Collins shares a list of these companies including their extension:   3M, Amazon, Amgen, Apple, Boeing, IBM, etc. noted here.Flywheel Extensions in Corporate History  To download the list click here.

Would you like help discovering/creating your flywheel?  Contact

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Acheive Execution Excellence BP Guarantee poster-2To build an enduring great organization you need disciplined people, engaged in disciplined thought, to take disciplined action, to produce superior results, making a distinctive impact in the world.

Discipline, sustains momentum, and over a long period of time lays the foundation for lasting endurance. It’s the framework for Good to Great:

  • Stage 1: Disciplined People
  • Stage 2: Disciplined Thought
  • Stage 3: Disciplined Action
  • Stage 4: Build Greatness

Positioning Systems is obsessively driven to elevate your teams Discipline.  A winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics and Meeting Rhythms.   Your business dramatically improves forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance.

Creating, defining, understanding, with creativity and DISCIPLINE your Flywheel establishes Execution Excellence.

3 Disciplines of Execution (Strategic Discipline)-1Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

Positioning Systems helps your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M) business Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing!  Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

Next Blog: DisciplineA culture of Discipline is not a principle of business Jim Collins Quote

Discipline is the key to Greatness and developing your Flywheel. As Jim Collins notes in Good to Great “A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.”  Next blog I’ll share why Positioning Systems’ Strategic Discipline envelops the principle of Discipline.

Topics: Strategic Discipline, Jim Collins, Build up to Breakthrough Flywheel, Turning the Flywheel, Flywheel

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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Positioning Systems Brand Promise

1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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