Chapter 9 Moving On Up

If you’re old enough to remember the great comedy The Jeffersons or see it on reruns, you know its fabulous theme song, “Movin’ On Up.” They were moving to a “deluxe apartment in the sky” on the East Side.

Moving up isn’t as simple in this profession as climbing a ladder. But the ascent can be rapid and thrilling, or it can be tortuous and frustrating.

Fastening the Watertight Doors

As we grow and progress, we are on an upward journey. Unless we’re climbing, we’re not growing. If your new venture in consulting makes $75,000 in year one, you certainly don’t want to make “only” $80,000 in year two. With your momentum and new clients and continual learning you should double or triple the first year easily.

This is often explained in an S curve, which you can see in Figure 9.1. You can achieve dramatic growth as a startup, but the growth will eventually slow and plateau unless you do something to add to it. All plateaus eventually erode because of the laws of entropy, so the best time to leap to the next S curve is when you have strong growth momentum near the top of the hill, not after you’ve plateaued.

The S curve in the figure starts with a slow growth, followed by a dramatic growth. After the dramatic growth, the growth again slows down before it leaps to the next S curve. Similarly, the growth curve continues to form another S curve. The points of beginning of new growth curves are labeled as “x”. The distance between these points of new growth is called Growth plateau: the success trap.

Figure 9.1 The S curve.

I call these plateaus “success traps,” because even though you’ve grown, you’ve actually stalled, often without realizing it, and trying to jump from one plateau to the next is a huge expenditure of energy.

So you want to make ...

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