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Growth/Change/Profits: A Process


If we are studying growth, profitability, and change this year, we could begin by looking at this The Wall Street Journal piece about the turnaround artist, Jim Harbaugh

I start here because the article points out that there are two kinds of turnarounds:

  • The impossible
  • The very hard

I’ve been involved in this before:

  • A ticketing company that had been hit by a number of challenges many outside of its control. 
  • An events business that had launched poorly. 
  • A nightclub that had had a “pop” at the start but was flaming out earlier than was typically, even in a business where the lifecycles can be pretty quick. 

In the article, the author points out that the typical corporate turnaround happens with cost cutting and “efficiencies”. 

Which typically goose Wall Street’s expectations and boosts the stock, but actually tends to provide only a short-term impact on the real underlying health of the business. 

The point is that turning around a football team is typically different because a school or team invests in different ideas and different tools. 

That’s what I want you to think about today: 

  • How will you change your processes?
  • What will be unique or different to your process going forward?
  • Where are you going to invest in the new or different? 

The process of strategy isn’t difficult, we’ve gone through it a few times before and we can do so again:

  • What does success look like?
  • Who are you targeting?
  • Why are they picking you over the alternatives?
  • What resources do you need?
  • What actions are you going to take? 

From a brand management perspective, you consider:

  • Diagnosis: What’s the world look like around you? What do your customers want or need?
  • Strategy: Where will we play? Why will we win? What does success look like?
  • Brand Codes: How are we going to show up in the market? How will you know it is us? 

These few questions are the foundation of growth. 

Of turning around. 

Of profitability. 

That’s it. 

It isn’t mission impossible like the professor says when talking about corporate turnarounds. 

It is hard. 

You have to act differently. You have to fight the status quo. You have to be willing to fight the “way things have always been done.” 

You begin by knowing what changes looks like and what success will look like. 

Can you define it?


Join the WCG Slack Community! A place to talk about this stuff. 

BTW, I did a list of 100+ people I’ve followed and learned from in 2023. 

Also, I put together a quick re-introduction post earlier in the week as well. 

You’ve made it this far, thank you. 

Will you do me a favor and share this with one person that might be thinking about growth/change/profitability this year and can benefit from some of these ideas?