Escape velocity


To bring a satellite into orbit you need to pass the escape velocity to get out of the earth’s gravity. This is why rockets need so much horsepower. There is no way out of the physical law. If the rocket fails to achieve escape velocity, then it will inevitably fall back to earth.

The same applies to any organizational change and strategy implementation. Many of them fail because they never create the needed momentum to overcome the gravity of paradigms and established behaviors. No matter how good the intentions and initial energy, they start too slow and never achieve the needed speed.

In continuation of the rocket metaphor, here are the three things you need to do to get your change project or strategy off the ground and lift it into the orbit in the shortest amount of time.

  1. Clear vision and goals. As simple as it sounds, you cannot create any momentum as long as the direction is not clear to everyone involved in the journey. Horsepower is fueled by true commitment, which is based on a bold vision and clear goals.
  2. Press start and keep pushing the button. Too many strategy implementations or change projects are never visibly started, and even if they are, they lack the full understanding of what this start means. You cannot just stop the rocket after you initiate the start, but many managers seem to think that the start was just some fire and smoke without any effect.
  3. Get to speed fast. Many strategies fail simply because they do not gain, but rather lose, speed after the first few weeks. No rocket would have ever reached orbit by reducing power after the first few seconds. What this means for you is that you need to show quick results, and keep on going.

It is up to you as a leader if you want to get to a higher level. If you make the choice, then give it full power, or you will hit the ground because you did not achieve escape velocity.

This blog entry is from our Friday Noon Memo, the weekly memo for high-performing leaders and organizations. Click here to subscribe.