In Jim Collins’ “Great By Choice” this pyramid model provides a framework for his trilogy-logical discussion. I’ve read this book wearing two lenses – one, as a principal in our firm, and two as a marketing executive. As a business leader, I aspire to a higher level of discipline in my leadership as well within my personal work ethic. As a marketer, I recognize – primarily from the past 10 years of expanding digitally-dominated marketing and dynamic market ecosystems – that discipline is indeed the capstone of success.
The 20 Mile March is “Jim Collins code” for consistent, methodical and metered execution. He correctly calls it out as a choice or decision, even a strategy, for securing sustained growth. The argument goes against several mantras ingrained within me – “strike while the iron’s hot” “leverage your opportunities” “capture the moment”. No, instead, his research observed that companies win (and south pole explorers survive) when they meter their progress. How might this apply to our business at Chief Outsiders? Perhaps we should add one new major market a year to our firm, regardless of the market conditions. If it’s a tough year, we add one new market. If the economy is rocking and highly favorable, we still add only one new market. Collins’ research tells us the benefits of steady pace outweigh the opportunistic instinct to lunge ahead in good times or hunker down in tough times.
How might the 20-Mile March discipline apply to marketing behavior overall? Perhaps we can use our 9-step Purpose-Driven Marketing model as mile markers:
In short, to set the mile markers for your business, ask the above questions and then establish frequency and distance metrics – how much will you do and how often. And remember, the consistent pace outweighs the volume. Make regular, measured progress (vs. opportunistic leaps and bounds followed by valleys of exhaustion).
We often write about how Operations-oriented companies can grow faster than their peers if they learn how to develop strengths in marketing disciplines. In this case, it’s clear to me that Market-oriented companies need to buckle up and become more disciplined to capitalize on the benefits of the 20-mile March.
Would love to hear what you think.