Tome of the Tomato ...

The Nature of Growth and Maintenance - Part II


Feel free to try this experiment at home. Plant two tomato plants. Fertilize the first with a balanced fertilizer. The package might read 10-10-10 (describing the equal percentages of its ingredients: (N) Nitrogen, (P) Phosphorous, and (K) Potassium). Fertilize the second with high nitrogen fertilizer, typically used for lawns (package might read 30-0-0).

The 10-10-10 tomato will be the regular Joe. It will provide for killer BLTs and fresh salsa. The health of the foliage will be contained and maintained, but there will be enough nutrients left for fruit.

As for tomato 30-0-0? The kids will want to build a tree house in it. It might grow 10 feet tall – lots of foliage, little or no fruit. The Nitrogen acts like the stock market, calling for greater growth. All the available energy goes into producing and maintaining that growth. Nothing is left to grow the essence of the plant, the fruit. That is the lesson of maintenance and the tome of the tomato.

Here are some key things to consider when applying principles of growth to the practice of business.

FEED THE FRUIT
Know what the essence of your business is and keep it healthy. It is your nature – what customers expect and what the business model delivers.

MAINTENANCE ALWAYS OUTPACES GROWTH
If growth doubles, maintenance will double plus. Don’t under-estimate the cost of a healthy system.

REACH PROFITABILITY QUICKLY
Don’t let an idea gestate too long. In a complex world, longer payoffs are unlikely payoffs.

DIVERSIFY THE PROCESS
Invest in innovation and multiple business models. This balances the risk in a world of disruptive and rapid change.

DIVERSIFY THE FACES
Your work force should be as diverse as your customer base. Customer wants are cultural perceptions.

BEWARE THE BROWN BUTT ROT (See previous Blog)
Stay culturally healthy. A great many mature companies die from the inside out.

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