Extraordinary Team Blog

All Teams Need to Read Rebel Brown’s New Book: Defying Gravity

Posted by Kristin Arnold on September 14, 2010

Just finished reading Rebel Brown’s new book, Defy Gravity:Propel Your Business to High-Velocity Growth.  As I read the book, I kept thinking, “these are GREAT questions for any business teams to be asking about their business!”

The book is in two parts: Part I explores all the reasons why businesses are stuck in a rut.  Rebel (yes, that is her name!) calls it “gravity – the status quo”.  Regardless of what you call it, what has worked in the past may or may not be working for you now.  And how do you know if you are stuck in a rut?  Gravity getting you down?

Rebel pokes at five sources of gravity: your best seller may not, in fact, be profitable; your biggest customer may be a drain on your business; HUGE opportunities may be a shiny new penny that diverts your attention from your core; even key employees may be holding you back; just because your competition does it, doesn’t mean you have to as well; and finally, watch out for conclusive data as “figures lie and liars figure”.  She sets up a framework for you to have robust, meaningful discussions with your team about each of these sources of gravity – and what to do about them (e.g. defying gravity).

While I love Part I for the ability to speak frankly about the business, Part II makes my head hurt because the questions are much harder to answer.   Part II is all about “High Velocity Growth” – mapping out a strategy that leverages your core.  Most businesses I work with as a high stakes meeting facilitator are struggling with the next value proposition.  Sure, we work our existing markets, but the bigger strategic question looms over the horizon:  How do we grow the business, especially in these tough economic times?  Do we go after complementary or adjacent markets? Emerging markets?  Go take a left turn into “left field”?  Rebel offers sage advice about when each of these strategies will work – or not.  But before you launch your strategy, she highly recommends you do the fundamental work around your value mix of your company, product and market value – and within each of the three facets of the value mix, to identify both the core and segment value.  From this intense work, you identify your true value.  Rebel says, “Value isn’t a single line item on a checksheet.  It’s a complex and extremely dynamic attribute of your business.  When you recognize your true value, you create compelling growth momentum.  When you make misassumptions about your value, you limit your business growth.”

So ask the tough questions, wrestle with your true value, make your head hurt (in a good way!), and the result will be a winning strategy for high velocity growth!

Check out Rebel’s website for a free chapter download as well as four training videos – and let me know what you think!