Finney, our cocker spaniel, loves to play fetch with a tennis ball. I’ve noticed that he starts running for the ball when my arm is raised to throw it. Even before I’ve begun to throw the ball, he’s off and sprinting in the general direction I’m facing. As the ball arcs over him he’ll then make note of where it’s heading and makes the necessary changes in direction. And if the ball doesn’t appear in his line of sight within a few seconds he stops and looks back at me to understand what’s happening.

I’m currently working with a client that operates in a similar way. Teams across the business are proactive and get on developing, testing and delivering new ideas and changes before fully creating the detailed plans that may have been traditionally expected. At times, the company’s approach can create some confusion and uncertainty, but it also generates genuine organisational pace.

In truth, the uncertainties are relatively easy managed and the tweaks in direction and focus are quickly taken by the management teams in their regular, weekly meetings. And the upside of the company’s pace has been rapid growth, market share gains and greater profitability.

How is your business tackling growth and innovation? Are you waiting until you’re certain where the ball is heading before moving, or, like Finney and my client, are you anticipating the ball’s future trajectory and getting on the front foot, confident that you can make any necessary adjustments along the way?


Off The Record: Old King by Neil Young

King went a-runnin’ after deer

Wasn’t scared of jumpin’

Off the truck in high gear

King went a-sniffin’

And he would go

Was the best old hound dog I ever did know


© Stuart Cross 2018. All rights reserved.