The Top Nine Causes of The Plateau Pattern™: Complacence


George is the President of a midsized 8 year old company.  The company was included on the lists of the fastest growing companies and best places to work for several years in a row. George has won local “entrepreneur of the year” awards and is frequently invited to speak about “innovation” at chamber of commerce and technology council events. 2009/2010 were challenging years for just about every company in their niche, so George’s team did not over-react when their growth slowed.  After all, “flat is the new UP,”right? George and his team remained confident that the launch of the 5th version of their software would be well received in 2011.

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

The bad news is that the 5th version of the software did not sell well.  But the good news is that the disappointment might be just the wakeup call George and his team needed.

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

How dependent is George’s business on one software product (be it 1st or 5th version)?  Have the revisions been based on updates in technology, research about customer needs and preferences, both, or neither? Have they been riding the wave of success from past innovation? Sometimes people start to believe their own press clippings. Maybe George and his team were quite entrepreneurial and innovative 8 years ago. Are they now?

It would be very interesting to learn what younger, bright, ambitious employees in George’s business are thinking.  Do they view the management team as exciting industry leaders who continue to earn the respect of their team?  Or do they view George and his team as out of date and out of touch?  8 years is a long time when it comes to technology.

George and his team could prevent a mutiny (or exodus) and a plateau (or free fall) IF they can renew their commitment to and investment in:

  •   timely market research,
  •   a culture and process of innovation and continuous learning, and
  •   expansive thinking, so they reduce their dependence on a single product line.

The fifth top cause of The Plateau Pattern™ is “complacence” (cockiness).


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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