Who’s more likely to survive a powerful storm: The person who prepares for what’s coming, and has a plan in place to deal with the likely outcome or the one who didn’t bother to check the weather report that day?
The answer’s pretty obvious, but it’s amazing how many otherwise smart and forward-thinking individuals in leadership fail to prepare (and thus prepare to fail) for the predictable phases of the Business Storm Cycle ahead of their actual arrival. Just as with a literal storm, that lack of preparedness can be fatal to an enterprise.
Since there’s no “weather report” you can check as a business leader, what signs should you look for to warn you of impending storms? If your product or service suddenly catches on, you may be in the path of that wild hypergrowth phase we call the Tornado.
You can tell you have entered a hypergrowth Tornado when:
- Your revenue is soaring but your margins are falling;
- Your back office can’t keep up with the rest of the company, and it can’t give you the data you need;
- Your staff is growing, but your company culture is weakening; and
- You find yourself controlled by the “tyranny of the urgent.”
The boom times you’d wished for have finally arrived – but they’ve brought predictable chaos with them. The good news is the Tornado will blow itself out. But hot on its heels will come the Avalanche – the period of rapid deceleration that’s the inevitable chaser after the wild winds of the Tornado have died down. Now those great margins you had are shrinking – and suddenly, you’ve gone from everyone working around the clock to being overstaffed. Who’s to blame for this sudden downturn? Nobody; it’s the natural next phase of the business storm cycle.
After the Avalanche comes the consolidation phase. During this period, you roll out the new processes and technology you need to prepare for your next Tornado. Professionalize your back office and IT. That will keep your systems predictable and your IT scalable for the next phase. Your leadership role is to let people know where the company is at in the cycle—to educate, encourage, and inspire them to use each phase as productively as possible.Business storms like these are normal and healthy. Getting ready for the next round should be a priority – because that’s how you can minimize the
Business storms like these are normal and healthy. Getting ready for the next round should be a priority – because that’s how you can minimize the damage when the next Tornado comes roaring down on you.
Can your company survive the tornados and avalanches of the business cycle? Take my complimentary Business Storm Cycle Assessment to empower your people to work better, faster and smarter.