I’ve talked about surviving the Tornado; that wild hypergrowth phase that blasts your company up to the sky, then just as rapidly drops it back to earth. But what does a Tornado phase look like when you’re in it? Let’s follow one company’s wild ride.
Wind-farm company, Headwind Energy, had tripled in revenue size in a matter of months. The company doubled in size in people and quadrupled expected profit. During these months, their people did everything they could to keep up with the Tornado. They worked seven days a week, nights, and weekends. But eventually, they had to admit there was no way they could keep up. They scrambled to renegotiate many of their contracts in order to have more time, but they still didn’t really grasp the cycle they were caught in.
The department heads could not pull together because the Tornado was blowing too hard for them to see. Since they didn’t understand the Business Storm Cycle, they did not have the tools to decipher what was happening to them. They needed to find a solution, but no matter how many joint meetings they had, they couldn’t agree on a common course. Instead, the company’s internal departments were working at cross-purposes. Since their efforts weren’t coordinated, they became counterproductive. And all the while, production was still running long days and weekends.
Their internal processes were not documented, so they couldn’t be taught to the huge onslaught of new hires. This meant the old processes broke down, and there were no new processes to replace them. The huge influx of new people diluted the company culture, and eventually, it broke down completely. Departments were in conflict. Fiefdoms formed within the company, and that created even more problems with processes. The result of all this was that procurement and construction simply couldn’t keep up.
Technology issues always form major roadblocks in the back office, and in Headwind’s case, those problems were legion: bandwidth issues, connectivity issues, and storage problems. With no integration among people, process, and technology, they ended up with lots of double and triple entries.
Headwind Energy simply couldn’t maintain their momentum. When their Tornado wound down, they were easy prey for a takeover —and that’s exactly what happened.
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.