It all starts so simply – deliver something the world values, commit to improving it, take care of your team and your clients and before you know it, you have a business that is growing. Many of Fathom’s clients began their journey this way, us included. For a while things are good, but inevitably the world changes in a way that has the business experience less demand than before, such as stronger competition, disruptive technology or rising costs.
Creating our own cage
As smart business people do, they adapt, typically by expanding service offerings, growing their customer base and increasing productivity and efficiency. After a while, the business becomes spread thin trying to be all things to all people and fighting for slimmer and slimmer margins. Once this happens, the future can seem limited to nothing more than a continuation of today; an endless cycle of reacting to market forces, trying to keep everyone happy, fighting for the next project and hoping for a better future. To break free of this trap, leaders try different things but are left exhausted by attempts to change anything about their future that makes any real difference.
It ain’t broken
A lot of businesses we come into contact with have operated in this state for years and, as a result, the leadership team assumes that the current reality is fixed and unchangeable. It doesn’t have to be this way. This condition isn’t a consequence of something being wrong with the business. In fact, it is impossible to “fix” your way out of this situation no matter how many consultants might say otherwise. It results as a consequence of being out of relationship with the source of energy vital for success in today’s business climate: Who you are and what you stand for.
You can’t fix your way to a brighter future
The power within
The source of energy, strong enough to break free from this unsustainable cycle, doesn’t come from outside of the business; it can only come from within. Businesses that discover who they are and what they stand for begin to see their future as a place of possibility. We call this source of energy organizational gravity. Once organizational gravity is discovered, it becomes a basis for boundless creativity and innovation.
Organizational gravity is a source of power strong enough to break your business free from it’s current state and into new realms of success
Businesses who reveal and master the application of their gravity spend time actively creating a future of their own design that isn’t limited to the confines of the industry. They create a future in service to a bigger idea; their business’ unique ability to make a difference, a difference those vital to their success value and are willing to pay a premium for.
This was the cycle that C&M, a Connecticut manufacturer of precision components and sub-assemblies, found themselves in. A business success story by all accounts, but one that, despite the addition of new technologies, expanded service offerings and diversified customer base, had stayed more or less the same size for several years.
They sensed there was more potential for the business; however, their attempts to get access to it proved ineffective. They wanted to start a new chapter for the organization and hired our firm as their guides. Once we understood their strategic objectives, we began our journey together.
One foot in front of the other
- We started by showing the leadership team what others saw was unique and valuable about them. We surveyed clients, employees, partners and suppliers to create an image of who C&M was for them and why they mattered.
- Next, we used this insight to conduct an inquiry with the leadership team that revealed in precise and actionable language who they are and what they stand for – their organizational gravity. Revealing their gravity allowed C&M to see the future of their business as a possibility that went beyond just the products and services they now provide.
- We then established the connection between their organizational gravity and the needs of the marketplace so that C&M could understand the client they are uniquely suited to serve. This allowed them to focus their attention on serving those who valued and were willing to pay a premium for what sets them apart.
- All of this insight established the strategic backbone for what needed to be expressed to attract ideal customers and what needed to be developed in order to deliver what they valued most. This level of objective insight allowed us to be surgical about what tactics were developed and assure that everything that was created would deliver on the strategic objectives of the initiative.
We ended up changing everything about C&M from the name, identity, website, employee uniforms, signage, what they said and what they focused on. But most importantly, we shifted the ground on which they saw their business. Not because it seemed like the right things to do, but because the results of the journey we guided them on demonstrated how essential they were to create the conditions in which C&M, now DaCruz Manufacturing, could realize its full potential. The best part was that none of this required them to become anything other than more of who they already are.
C&M transformed from a business in a reactionary position to the whims of the marketplace to DaCruz Manufacturing (the founding family’s name), an organization firmly planted in the driver seat of its own future. From their perspective, “We’re more confident, more energized and everything about the business just got better.” Don’t take our word for it; watch the video to hear what they had to say.
Brent works with leaders to design futures worth fighting for. A partner at Fathom, he champions an approach to strategic planning, employee engagement, leadership succession and market differentiation that prioritizes people and relationships. As a result, his clients don’t simply plan their futures, they bring them to life through the energy of organization-wide involvement in, and commitment to, generating valuable businesses that matter.
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