by Ray Reuter on December 3, 2015

flywheel2Recently I’ve had several conversations about the Flywheel concept in Jim Collins’ classic book, Good to Great. The metaphor of the flywheel simply underscores that the reality of greatness or success or winning comes from consistently building momentum. In other words, there is a lot of little pushes, not one big push, that leads to greatness.
Greatness comes from consistently building momentum within the business or organization or family or relationship … and not from quick fix initiatives and attempts to constantly change direction in a series of big pushes.

If you imagine a huge and heavy wheel that requires significant effort even to make it move (like the one pictured from an old factory), and then consider the effects of consistently pushing it in one direction over what may be a very long time, you will begin to see that, once moving, each push can add progressively more momentum to the movement of the wheel.

The wheel accelerates. No one push on the flywheel allows it to reach maximum velocity, but many pushes over a period of time. Each push in the same direction will build momentum, providing that no one stops the momentum by trying to move it in another direction.

What this metaphor teaches us is that great businesses or marriages or families or teams (Go Royals!) may seem like an “easy” or “overnight” success, but effort and discipline predates the transition to greatness often over long periods of time. Moving forward in a single direction requires certainty and consistency, faith and trust, effort and discipline. Flywheeling leads to unfettering

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