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The Light at the End of the Tunnel – A Train!

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Feb 5, 2018

oncoming-train.jpg“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s a train, coming your way!” 

~Michael Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited.

You may have heard this quote expressed in more positive terms.

In the E-Myth Revisited it was used to express the frustrations small business owners had with the complexity of their business and its over reliance on the business owner.

The-Light-At-The-End-Of-The-Tunnel-Is-A-Train.jpgAs shared in You Are Behind, How Originals Identify Innovative Ideas, ONLY 8% of Companies Prepared for Digital Disruption,  and Disrupt Yourself or Be Disrupted By the Competition the consequences of Digital Disruption are having an irreversible effect the future of your business and industry.

An Emphasis on Speed

Not too long ago, FedEx popularized their brand promise of, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight!”  


Their most famous commercial from 1981, FedEx commercial with John Moschitta, is more comical today because of how much more our world’s pace is increasing.


Today, Speed is table stakes. If your business isn’t offering Amazon-like, free next day delivery, you are not only too slow, you have poor service.

McKinsey & Company article, Organizing for the Age of Urgency, emphasizes the nature of speed today, both in delivery and in decision-making:

A good road map can come with callouts and suggestions, and here’s our first: floor it. When you compete in a marketplace that moves so quickly, the default outcome is to fall behind. If your organization is to have any hope of keeping up, it will need to be reconceived as fast, quick to turn, and even quicker to emerge from rapid pit stops and tune-ups. One could almost analogize to a race car—almost, because race cars typically run on a fixed track toward a clear finish line. Your organization’s race, by comparison, is toward an unknowable destination. And that race doesn’t end.

At the highest-performing companies, speed is the objective function, the operating model, and the cultural bias. And more: speed is an imperative. Walk the halls of leading organizations, and you’ll repeatedly hear catchphrases such as “energy,” “metabolic rate,” “bias for action,” and “clock speed.” Jeff Bezos, in his April 2017 letter to Amazon shareholders, highlights making not just “high-quality” decisions but “high-velocity” decisions. amazon_logo_RGB.jpgThey go hand in hand. “Most decisions,” writes Bezos, “should probably be made with somewhere around 70 percent of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90 percent, in most cases you’re probably being slow.” Choosing not to fail fast comes at a price. “If you’re good at course correcting,” Bezos continues, “being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.”1

Shift to emergent strategy

Organizing for the Age of Urgency suggests, even if the destination is uncertain, readjusting quickly is essential. When the destination is uncertain you need an “emergent strategy,” which entails a relentless quest and not a defined end point.

McKinsey & Company recommends the “pursuit itself” should be a firm’s North Star—a questioning of “how do we add value” that’s unceasing but also unsolved, open to exactly how that manifests in terms of specific opportunities and actions.

It sounds like a tall order, yet a firm passionate about its purpose, a company focused on Solving Problems That Matter, will embrace this endless pursuit of improving.

Emergent Strategy.jpgThe article offers these characteristics required to achieve this outcome:

  • Agility,
  • Unleash decision making,
  • Reimagine your structure,
  • Capability,
  • Personalize talent programs,
  • Rethink your leadership model,
  • Identity,
  • Adopt a recipe to run the place,
  • Cultivate purpose, values, and social connection.

Read Organizing for the Age of Urgency to get a complete understanding of each’s meaning.

Scaling Up and Strategic Discipline resources engage your business in achieving all of these characteristics.

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Digital Disruption is here.  If your business is not doing anything to move in the direction for a digital strategy, you are already behind. Your risk is being obsolete.

Positioning Systems is uniquely qualified,  through The Outthinker Process, to provide you with a digital strategy.

Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M) business Scale-UP. We help you align everyone in your business to focus on Your One Thing!  To achieve growth, you need to evolve in today’s rapidly changing economic environment.  Are you avoiding a conversation with yourself on how to can grow your business? 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.

Best Practices Are Dead.jpgNext Blog - ARE BEST PRACTICES DEAD?

An article in, Best Practices are Dead, Tom Puthiyamadam reveals digital transformation eliminates reliance on best practices as the best viable strategy for improvement. Puthiyamadam declares, “Best practice models are great for incremental improvements; they will reliably help companies get from 95 percent accuracy on billing to 99 percent. But for transformations, in particular digital transformations, they’re less helpful.” It’s another trend stirring business to embrace innovation, and digital disruption.  We explore this trend next blog.   


Topics: Best Business Practices, Strategy Decision, Disruptive Strategies, Digital Disruption, Speed

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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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
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- Meeting Rhythms

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