Persistence (and Flywheels)

Persistence is the key to building strong, unstoppable business momentum.

Keep Pushing The Flywheel

Imagine you and some friends discover an old abandoned amusement park, at the center of which is a huge run-down merry go round. The kind you can ride on, with horses that go up and down.

You decide to try pushing it to see if you can get it going (there’s five of you). You all grab on and start pushing, and it barely budges. It’s incredibly heavy. But you keep pushing, and it moves a tiny little bit with each push.

Your friends start thinking of ideas to avoid the hard work of pushing. ‘What if we could turn the motor on? How about throwing some weight off of it?’

But you realize those are distractions, and convince your friends to keep pushing. The five of you push and push, and with every turn it moves a little more freely. By the time you’ve pushed it around dozens of times, suddenly, its going fast! A couple of you hop on for the ride while the others keep pushing, which is easy now because the thing has so much momentum.

This is what happens in successful businesses, which build up momentum through persistence.

It’s been called the flywheel effect, a business term coined by management consultant Jim Collins. A flywheel is a very heavy object that turns very slowly until it gains momentum. And your merry go round is literally a huge flywheel.

Jim Collins’ idea was that businesses are like flywheels – they only become powerful and unstoppable with persistence.

You have to keep pushing, doing your business plan, day after day. No single push makes the difference, but each push (like with the merry go round) builds on all your previous work because of your flywheel’s momentum. There’s no shortcuts, though it’s tempting to imagine them. You’ve got to keep pushing and persisting to succeed.

Categories/Tags: People/Culture, Startups