Do you know what is most feared by high-performer plane pilots? Stalling. Because once under that loss of thrust and lift, you are very likely to go down. Same can happen to Business Initiative pilots. And same should be feared.
In our experience, the stalling effect explains for at least 50% of Initiative failures in big companies. Failure to ripe benefits from a successfully launched Initiative, not because there is no potential, but due to a lack of animation, an absence of thrust.
If you have to cope with the stalling effect, congratulations: it means your Business Initiative has taken off. It could have been otherwise (see previous articles: Market innovation, Market choice & Market roll-out). You have successfully passed that critical step. Your Initiative has left ground, because you have achieved to build momentum and considerable thrust in that end: an involved Business Owner, a dedicated commando team, SMART Computing resources for building a fast time-to-market solution, a market choice process and a rollout roadmap.
Again, congratulations, you have played by the book and avoided many deadly mistakes 80% of Initiatives leaders make. However, you still have to cope with the stalling effect. How? Well, maintain full throttle, captain!
Thrust needs for fuel. When you fill your initiative tank before taking off, never forget you will need to continue pushing once off the ground. It seems obvious, but we keep intervening on Initiatives that run out of budget and stall just months after being launched.
Our best advice is simple but needs for an explanation when being introduced to your hierarchy:
The main learning from this representation of investment VS benefits comes from the Continuous Improvement phase:
So basically, when you run out of fuel just after the rollout phase, you just spent money for an initiative that have not yet produced any results, and worse, to which you will never give a chance to generate benefits and reach success. Like flailing at the air. But spending money and effort in vain.
There are situations you cannot anticipate. External factors impossible to take into account in advance. Your best shot is to be trained and equipped to learn on-the-fly. The initiative you launch on market(s) might prove irrelevant, for dozens of reasons. If you are able to read the storm coming and to change direction with mad piloting skills, this is not the end, but the announcement of a great flight.
Let us share with you a sound example of that ability and the absolute need for it, when innovating on markets: Second Avis Business Model and use. Second Avis is a service on which any person suffering from health problems can upload his/her clinical record to ask for a collegial, medical second diagnostic from worldwide known doctors. That was the plan. And it worked. But some months after launch, Second Avis team is astonished by something very curious: some patients suffer from dozens of diseases and health problems, some of them quite rare. They investigate, and learn something instrumental in what will become the Business Model of their company: it is not the patient that uses the service, but the doctor for all of his/her patients. Test & Learn. Change of Business target. On-the-fly. Second Avis is now running at full throttle.
Finally, stalling is often a consequence of bad indicator reading. If you do not know the speed you travel at, the altitude and course you follow, you cannot make the right calls. Think about it: how many Initiatives or Projects have you witnessed with a real, active Business follow-up after deployment? We can guess: not many.
This is often due to the first point we made: budgetization. Once the initiative is out and deployed, well, you do not have budget anymore to invest in market animation. Budget for an efficient market animation is not necessarily tremendous, especially if you structure it in a mastered process and tool.
However, market animation is key to drive the initiative towards revenues and success, for all the reasons we just discussed such as uncertainty of market expectations, continuous improvement approach of initiatives. And there is icing on the cake: market animation creates a cross-market emulation where learnings are shared and best practices emerge to be generalized. A very underestimated phase of the initiative iterative lifecycle.