The Top Nine Causes of The Plateau Pattern™: Existing Strategy Has Been Played Out


Ted is the majority owner of the third largest business in their niche. The company has had steady growth and consistently strong net profit across its 20 year history. Tom, the minority partner, is the company’s President. Recently, other members of the management team have become impatient with Ted and Tom.  Although they are proud of the company’s accomplishments, the managers see the need for upgraded technology and expansion of services.  A few members of the management team have even considered leaving to start a business of their own that would embrace new trends more quickly.

What do you think?  Is the company positioned for growth? A plateau? Freefall?

Although a vignette cannot possibly convey the whole story, there IS enough information here to prompt some relevant questions.

Are Ted and Tom too focused on the past?  Are the other members of the management team ready to become executives? Is Ted ready to retire?  Would he consider selling his shares of the business to members of the management team?  It certainly could be disruptive if he just sells his shares to an outsider without giving the managers a chance to buy the business.  Are the managers irritated at Ted and Tom or do they just need an updated strategic plan?  Why should key managers have to leave the company to embrace trends, utilize upgraded technology, expand services…and go to the next level?

Bright people get itchy and even bored if they are merely following through on yesterday’s strategies.  Ambitious people will be much more excited if they have a compelling future oriented strategic plan that makes them think, requires learning new skills, and presents a challenge.  Real growth is driven from equal doses of fear and excitement.  Succession will need to be part of the process as the managers replace Ted’s and Tom’s “safe” existing strategy with something new and exciting.

So, this company is headed for a plateau (or freefall?) if Ted and Tom can’t let go.  But the business is positioned well for growth if succession and new strategy replace “maintenance thinking.”

The 8th top cause of The Plateau Pattern™ is “the existing strategy has been played out.”


About Aldonna Ambler:
Known as The Growth Strategist®, Aldonna Ambler built and grew a suite of companies to help midsized B2B companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability® A Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Ambler has addressed over 2000 audiences and hosted a syndicated online talk show about growth strategies for 9 years. As a growth financing intermediary, Ambler raised over $1 Bil dollars for midsized companies. The winner of over 2 dozen prestigious national and statewide "entrepreneur of the year" awards, Ambler is available to speak about “profitable growth during any economy” and/or serve on the board of a growth-oriented privately-held company.

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