Keep the Flywheel Spinning

by Rand Manasse

The momentum of the “Merry-go-Round” is awesome!


We all remember as kids having fun on that dirt playground pushing the heavy piece of equipment.


At first it was hard to get going!


Everyone had to push. You would dig in your Converse high top sneakers and push as hard as you could.  You would make it around once then twice and by the third time it was starting to pick up speed so you would yell to your little sister and brother to jump on as you pushed some more.


What teamwork it took to make that merry-go-round turn, but in the end it was worth the effort. We got to feel the wind in our face and the rush of excitement as we raced around and around. But we would also not rest at that point. To keep it going occasionally someone would jump off and start running alongside to maintain or build up more speed. We’d enjoy the ride as long as we could continue pushing and spinning that wheel.


The Flywheel of Business


The ride on the merry-go-round is just like the flywheel within your business.


Every business goes through evolution. We determine what we are passionate about. We examine ourselves to understand what we are best at as compared to everyone else. We analyze our core values and align them with how our business should project to employees, partners and customers. Finally we make a determination of how we’ll make money.


As we bring together these essentials of business the flywheel gains momentum. It takes more effort in the early stages, but as the flywheel picks up speed we start to enjoy the ride. We jump off from time to time to reassess the company. We jump off and start pushing again to make sure we not only maintain momentum, but also go even faster as we grow and expand.


An Example of the Flywheel in Action


Let’s think about that merry-go-round again.


Remember when the big kid left and a new one jumps on? Did that transition slow down the ride? Did the new big kid have ideas that made it go fast? Did he decide to continue to go in the same direction?


Changing the products and services you offer is important in our changing times, but changing the momentum of the flywheel is seldom beneficial.


This question is on the mind of Mike Mikan the interim Chief Executive of Best Buy as he adjusts his service offering through the Geek Squad in an attempt to cut costs. It appears as if Mikan is looking to maintain the momentum of his company while adjusting for change in the retail world.


Mikan has already taken heat for this move. He’s attempting to change a business model that is not working. For his efforts to change and make the company successful in the future he is met with resistance from those clinging to the old model.


It is not easy to change, but change is necessary. The most difficult part is to maintain the momentum of the business flywheel. It will be interesting to see if Best Buy can maintain the momentum they still have in the consumer retail industry. The company still has revenue sources to keep it going. It’s simply the reality of change that the old model is simply maintained to keep the current momentum while another model is attempted to grow the business.


The load is being lightened on the flywheel while a few people jump off to give it a push.


Is changing necessary at your business?


Are you building new value to your business that keeps the flywheel rotating or are you headed for the doom loop?


Image Credit: The Knowles Gallery

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