When Growth Stalls


Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When growth stalls, the need to reassess strategy, people and process becomes urgent.

The people evaluation may considers the “right person-right job” question, balancing an individual’s performance against the consistency of actual versus expected behaviors.

The process evaluation may challenge best practices. What has worked well to deliver productivity with consistent quality versus what can be improved, by how much and how soon.

The strategy evaluation is typically the most comprehensive assessment, often beginning with a review of the latest SWOT analysis, challenging the premises that drove existing strategies, and testing strategy adaptability to changing market conditions. Alternatives to current strategy that were previously rejected are reconsidered. But this typical process often omits a critical first step opportunity.

Before assessing the SWOT, the premises, the strategy adaptability, etc., think about this moment as a fresh start. It’s an opportunity to revisit the purpose that drove the original business proposition. Rather than assuming that your purpose is unchanged, rediscover why the business exists and reexamine how, in the beginning, you planned to make a difference in your market.

When you reflect on the success you’ve earned, what makes you most proud? Are you making the difference you expected? What would be lost if your business vanished?

What makes your business distinctive and valuable to customers? What competitive advantage do you “own” in your market? Who is your core customer and how is your advantage, your “uncommon promise,” delivered to that customer?

Related to your promise, what quantifiable benefits are you producing for customers and how quickly are they realized? How is doing business with you strengthening your customers’ competitive advantage? How are you helping them succeed?

When you think about those in your organization who deliver on your promise, why do they choose to invest their talents and energy in your business versus the alternatives? How connected is their rationale with the purpose of your business and the success it has earned?

Rediscovering your purpose provides a foundation for strategy evaluation. It validates your competitive advantage, generates energy to drive action, and reveals how the contributions of your people are motivated by the meaningfulness of their work.

How frequently do you revisit your purpose?
How can beginning with a review of purpose
strengthen your strategy assessment?

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