Ball and chainEvery organization has experienced business gravity. That gravity is what keeps your organization, and its performance, firmly rooted in place. Unfortunately, it can hold you down or limit growth. It is the gravity created by habits, the things that are routinely accepted as given—whether it is how we think, how we work, or how we behave. These habits are established over time and absorbed by new employees until they become the standard. They are usually self-created, but they are very difficult to change. Just like gravity—and DNA—they tend to be invisible, and are repeated without conscious thought.

GrowthDNA can help organizations correctly diagnose growth gravity. Since companies pay attention to financial and operational results, they are usually quick to identify when performance is off. However, especially for low-GrowthDNA companies, the root cause of the problem is often misunderstood. Misdiagnosis is harmful, as it creates fruitless work, wastes valuable resources, and delays the right treatment.

Examples of Business Gravity

Following are some examples of business gravity that limit growth and the corresponding GrowthDNA strand that needs to be treated to resolve the issue.

Does your company lack leadership alignment? Do managers tend to thrive running their departments, but lack the interest or effort to lead their areas in support of the broader enterprise strategy? This isn’t necessarily a commitment issue. They may be very loyal to the company and believe they are acting in its best interest. Rather, they lack confidence in the vision and are not aligned. The case for change hasn’t been built, and they revert to where they have the most confidence—their own backyard. If the majority of your tracked metrics are operational or financial, you may lack sufficient market insights to develop confidence in a company vision. Build your ConfidenceDNA.

Does your company have a strategic plan, but struggle with execution? Chances are, leadership has not translated the plan into an actionable set of initiatives, has too many initiatives, has not funded them properly, or (most likely of all) has not communicated them adequately to motivate the troops. CommitmentDNA is lacking. Have you been disciplined enough to prioritize? While many things are important, major in the majors.

Be sure you have answered the questions of how you will win as a company and where you will (and won’t) compete. What will you say no to? Have you clearly communicated expectations? Are you communicating consistently and often enough?

Is there always a battle over scarce resources with multiple departments competing for the same talent—most likely IT? If so, there may be departmental objectives or goals rather than company-wide priorities. That is a result of lack of ClarityDNA. Develop company-wide priorities and ask departments how they will contribute. Limit the number of projects to those you can appropriately resource.

Is there an issue sustaining momentum? Culture may not be inclusive and growth-minded, with too few people involved in trying to transform the organization. Ask your employees what gets in the way of company success? How can leadership better support employees’ growth and contributions? What type of ongoing communication is effective and helpful? Once you discover what is right, and not quite right, you can begin to implement new tools, practices, and processes which lead to new behaviors and strengthens CultureDNA.

Understanding the correct diagnosis for slow or blocked growth helps organizations boost the right DNA strand and realize improved results much more quickly.