Many companies operate in less than four dimensions. Some are one-dimensional.
I believe you need to keep (at least) the following four dimensions in balance to sustain growth. What happens if they’re out of balance? How do you fix it?
Dreams provide the larger purpose, the inspiration behind the company and the essential story that will create desires in prospects and motivation in participants. Dreams shape the ethos of the company at the outset and fuel the ambition of the stakeholders - but they can fade or become inappropriate over time. They need to be refreshed. A company without dreams is a place of drudgery and routine. It is surprising how powerful the conscious tuning and restatement of the larger purpose of a company can be in reigniting passion and productivity. Take a look at your core messages. Where are they? How do they make you and your people feel?
Data: How dull, how prosaic, and how necessary. A dream needs to be grounded. The data provide the basis for real plans. Which people, where, want to buy what, at what price, from what kind of people, and in what ways? What is the competition up to? What is the market doing? What do the numbers need to look like? If things are sliding (or just haven’t taken off), you need an objective review of the facts before you start dreaming and designing again.
Design sometimes seems like a kind of magic. No wonder; great design reaches between rarefied ideas and mundane realities and pulls them together. I don’t mean by design a product twist here or a marketing spin there but the process of innovation in all its aspects across a company and all its interactions. What could you do better? How hard are you working on it? Which elements that you’d like to address have you just put off again?
Delivery – what most people consider as the ‘doing’ part: Essential, fulfilling, profitable and demanding. Delivery is today’s fulfilment of yesterday’s dreams and plans. This is growth built order by order and lessons learned client by client. But absorption in delivery can breed problems too. Today’s good can be the enemy of tomorrow’s potentially great or the incubator of tomorrow’s radical competitor. Now is the time to invest, to dream, to research and to redesign to stay ahead.
We all have comfort zones based on circumstances, skills and experience. It may be time to take action so that your business can thrive in all four dimensions.