I love Seth Godin’s concept of local max (the maximum level of success you can reach WITHOUT CHANGING STRATEGY) vs big max (what you can do with a new strategy, which may itself turn out to be another local max).

Think about this line: "If you have a ‘Max’, whatever you’re measuring, the odds are you’re actually dealing with a Local Max, not the Big one."  Now think about the place that you are stuck in.  Isn’t it probably true that what appears to be your Max is only your max because of the way you are looking at it?  At this point, I love the great Alan Kay line that "perspective is worth 80 IQ points."

At the root of all of this is the great truth that in order for our organizations to reach new levels of success (how ever you define it) they’ll need to change strategy.  When they adjust what they’re doing (hire more people, better people, franchise, etc.) it will initially lead (probably) to lower sales or a blip in attendance (read decline).  The temptation will be to retreat to what is familiar and less painful.

But the big point of the BIG MAX is that without the growing pains associated with switching from one strategy to the next there’ll be no breakthrough to the next level.

Here’s another great quote from the post:  "You can’t reinvent yourself and your organization until you deal with the fear of point C (where the decline comes in), and that’s hard to do without talking about it. I think the benefit of the Local Max curve is that it makes it easy for you and your team to have the conversation."  So true…


Reinventing Yourself and Pain