Dealing with Quick Success

I recently had a conversation with a friend about quick success. Most people welcome it. Reaching big goals in short order sounds wonderful. Who wouldn’t want to grow bigger faster? Reflecting on those who have experienced such relatively quick success, the game Jenga came to mind. Blocks are initially stacked then individually removed and placed on top to see how high it can reach before toppling over. With only 3 blocks as the foundation, the resulting tower is designed to become unbalanced before too long.

Similarly, a quick success usually comes with a rather narrow foundation due to a lack of time and resources. Too often things go well for a time until the success overwhelms and like the tower of blocks, things begin to sway just before the crash happens. Why didn’t they see this coming? What could they have done to avoid the collapse?

Those that succeed long-term intentionally build a broader foundation as growth happens. While this would not make the game Jenga much fun, adding more blocks to the foundation would certainly make for a taller tower and a longer game as a result. With people trying to pick up the pieces of a quick rise and fall, I hear them voice great memories of the adrenaline rush in the beginning but a deep regret to see it all fall apart in the end.

What does a stable foundation look like? Every organization could benefit from a solid game plan, a healthy management structure, adequate resources and consistent input from a variety of outsiders for perspective. As growth occurs, processes and more resources are added to maintain stability and support more growth. This could apply to new ventures within an existing organization as well. Taking the time and energy to add to a firm foundation may not be exciting but you will be glad you did when demand spikes and you are faced with how to grow to meet that demand.

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