Why Excellence NOT Innovation Is The Secret Ingredient

Why Excellence NOT Innovation Is The Secret Ingredient

The most money you will make or the most success you will ever find in business will actually come from repetition or excellence, and not innovation. 

That doesn’t mean that you stop trying to innovate. What we are saying here is that once you do innovate something, find excellence in that and make that process repeatable and consistent throughout your organization.

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Most business today are completely focused on innovating or coming up with that one big idea or breakthrough that will lead them to new heights. 

They see companies like Apple, who launched the iPhone or Amazon who has taken over the world of retail by shipping and think that it was this single idea or a single finite point in time that got them there. This is far from the truth. 

Innovation was just a part of their success not the reason for their success. They had built in habits of excellence within their organization to take their innovation and make it repeatable throughout. They had created their own flywheel. 

The Flywheel Effect

In his book Good To Great, Jim Collins talks about two organizational performance concepts. There is the flywheel effect, and the doom loop. 

Let’s first look at the Flywheel effect. 

So imagine a very large flywheel that is thousands of pounds in weight. In order for it to turn you are going to have to start pushing it. 

As you begin to push you might take a single step of progress, and then another step. Now, a single push has no impact on this wheel no matter how strong that push is.  So as you first start to push it seems almost impossible to turn, but you keep at it.

The more you continue to push the more momentum you build up. As you keep at it the easier it starts to gets but you still need to keep pushing as hard as you can. 

Finally, at some point it takes on a life of its own and it starts to spring really really fast. At this point, it doesn’t really need that much effort to spin.  In fact, now it’s really difficult to stop. 

When you finally reach this point, you will have achieved a good to great flywheel effect within your organization 

You are taking consistent action in allignment with your vision, you are acheiving some visible results, and this in turn energizes people and momentum is easier to sustain within your organization.

The final thing to note here is if someone came to you and asked what was the one massive push or in this case that one innovation that made your flywheel spin so fast, what would you say?

You wouldn’t really be able to answer that question and that’s because there really was no singular thing you did that made the difference. It really is about consistency or excellence over a long period of time.

This is what happens with all successful companies. They build in habits of success over a long period of time and follow through on those habits each and every day.

Then when they do create something great or find success people from the outside think that it was that innovation that brought them the success. They don’t realize that they had been building the habits of success through out.

What truly set the big winners apart was their ability to turn initial success into a sustained flywheel, even if they started out behind the pioneers.Jim Collins

Innovation VS Excellence In Life

Let’s see this in real life. You start working out today. Six months later your friend sees you in the gym doing pulls and thinks “man I should be doing pull-ups as well. Look at how well it’s worked for you.”

He doesn’t realize that for the past six months you’ve been eating right, sleeping 8 hours a day, drinking a ton of water, and exercising 3-5 times a week. If he only focuses on pull-ups, he will not find success.

You have to work on creating your own flywheel within your business. This is how a company that is focused on a culture Growth, Innovation, and Excellence or GIE behaves. 

They have a defined vision, clear guidelines, and priorities and no matter what distractions come their way, their people continue to focus on the goal. That is how they find success.

The DOOM Loop

Now let’s contrast that with the Doom Loop. 

The doom is the opposite and it’s how bad companies do things.  They start with a great idea or a flash of brilliance but they work on it intermittently only giving big pushes. 

These huge efforts are absolutely exhausting and overtime their intermittent nature leads to poor results. 

This in turn causes the organization to switch to a new idea because the previous one didn’t work out the way they had hoped. Each time they switch ideas these companies end up losing momentum. 

So they just stop trying to create momentum and instead are focused on having one big breakthrough. Most of the time this breakthrough never comes and these companies are always focusing on surviving rather than thriving.

The absolute thing here to remember is that each push on the flywheel builds on all the previous pushes and moves you one step closer to creating a culture of GIE. 

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