Why "thick wall" thinking is limiting your potential
In building a 20/20 Business, a structure that delivers you total control and ultimate freedom, you must first build and secure your core foundations of leadership, team, finance, operations and marketing & sales. You need to drive them deep until they’re resting on solid bedrock.
If you don’t, one of two things will invariably happen.
Either, you’ll build your future business structure on a very unstable base, not unlike building a house on sand. Or, without those deep foundations, you’ll need to build slowly and carefully, in limited stages, with each level having very thick "walls" to support the ever-decreasing size and number of layers that you can add above.
I don't use this metaphor of building design by accident. Before the advent of the “skyscraper”, the walls of a traditional building had to support the entire structure. The taller the structure, the thicker the walls had to be. A 16-story building (pretty short by today’s standards) would need walls almost 2 metres thick at its base.
Windows had to be kept small as they reduced the support offered by the walls; internal walls were also an integral part of the supporting structure, so they needed to be equally thick. Once constructed, there was little or no scope to change the internal layout of the building, people simply had to fit within the original design.
You know the sort of building I’m talking about. Wander round the historic areas in your city and you’ll see old government offices and early bank chambers in all their glory. In their day they were the epitome of stability and strength… people took delight in the fact they would never change.
Traditionally, business structures adopted a similar style. Old thinking and beliefs, built on a foundation that could not, or would not, change. The idea of transformation or, worse, massive disruption to a business, a market or even an entire industry was something few people back then had to grapple with. Today, we seem to do be dealing with these issues on a daily basis. Yet, many business owners still cling to “traditional” business thinking, not built on a solid foundation but so heavily ingrained in our business DNA they don’t know how to change.
Then came the technological breakthroughs of the late 19th century, including mass production of steel, the invention of safe and efficient elevators, and the improved analysis of structural loads and stresses. Before long, the sky was, literally, the limit!
The need for very thick walls was eliminated with the invention of steel-frame construction, in which a rigid steel skeleton built on a solid foundation, supports the weight of the entire building. The outer walls are merely hung from the frame like curtains. Windows, often making up most of the exterior, flood the building with light.
There are few, if any, internal supports so each floor can be configured any way you want. As the need changes, so can the layout. In fact, the entire building (at least all those parts that people see and interact with) can be transformed without, in any way, undermining the building’s structural integrity!
So, what are the parallels with modern, responsive business thinking?
Simple, irrespective of what your business does, you need to set your foundation blocks (leadership, team, finance, operations and marketing & sales) deep and on solid ground. This will not only support the ‘skeleton’ of your business through its various stages of development and growth, but you’ll be in a position to scale it to extraordinary heights. More importantly in today's economic climate, you'll be able to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and, as opportunities arise or disruption occurs, transform your entire operations, confident in the strength and versatility of your underlying structure.
To find out more, download The 5 Stages of Building a 20/20 Business.