Your business can be located somewhere on the spectrum of Stuck -> Flow.
It deviates slightly over time, but not much. Absent of powerful, game-changing interventions, all businesses roughly vacillate in the same territory on that spectrum.
In my view, and based on what I’ve observed over decades of doing my work, this is a choice. Yes, some businesses have more resources than others and have the ability to create more performance. But the Stuck -> Flow spectrum is a relative thing. It’s not about the quantum of profits or the extent of success. It’s relative to your business, your context, and your organisational performance.
Hence my view that the location of that spectrum reflects the choice of the business. And more so, the choice of the CEO.
This location is informed by ‘Story’: the narrative that the CEO holds about the potential of a business.
If this narrative is negative (‘We are destined to be a struggling business’; ‘We don’t have the wherewithal to do any better than we are doing’) then that’s what will manifest and the business will settle into its place on the spectrum. Closer to Stuck than to Flow.
Conversely, if the CEO’s ‘Story’ is positive (‘We can make better use of what we have’; ‘If they can succeed, we can too’; ‘We can push harder to be better’) then the business will edge along toward the Flow end of the spectrum.
I have noticed how barren the ‘Story’ of CEOs can be. It’s a result of years of pressure and strain. I understand it and have deep empathy for it. But it’s controllable and something can be done about it.
CEOs and businesses can be renewed. Our natural physical state is to be healthy, energised and fully-functioning. That is the law of the body as dictated by our muscular-skeletal systems. If we let our bodies get back into equilibrium and let our ‘scaffolding’ get back into alignment, then it will.
So too with businesses. They can be renewed from the inside. It’s not the easiest process and it requires will and self-belief, but it can be done.
And it needs to be done. Businesses that stay Stuck for too long will eventually cease to exist.