Momentum. Sometimes the word expresses the visual properties of motion: “that snowball is gaining momentum.” Sometimes it refers to an unseen force that expresses a dynamic shift: “the momentum of the game has switched sides.” Watching the World Cup and rooting for every team has been an eye opener for me. Since I don’t have a dog in this fight (is that offensive? perhaps I should’ve said “race?” Yes! Next time I will say race. Or I could’ve just said, “since I don’t have a horse in this race.” Yes, there it is. Next time!), I’ve been able to see all teams, players, and schemes equally. It has allowed me to analyze parts of the game I rarely pay attention to. It’s allowed me to appreciate players I’ve grown to hate, and like teams I would never watch, because they weren’t playing my team. Throughout all of the games thus far, there’s been one intriguing factor that made me appreciate its importance, and how relevant it is in every aspect of success or failure. Momentum!!!
There comes a point in every game, series, set of events (business, social, sports, etc) where you’re either on the beneficial or unfortunate side of this word. When watching a sporting activity such as soccer, you only see teams winning, losing, or trying to win if they happen to be losing. You don’t actually see or feel this sudden presence that has swooped in and taken over the moment. To the persons looking on, it’s unnoticeable. They see it as just a circumstance that has caused one team or the other to progress or slide. But, if you were to speak with any professional athlete, he or she would tell you that momentum is the extra player on the field. It shows up randomly and unexpectedly. And if not immediately stifled by its opponent with a grand gesture of some kind, it begins to roll powerfully against you like a mighty avalanche derived from the smallest snowball. It has an element that makes it impossible for things to go your way. As a soccer player, you miss a goal on a wide-open, unattended net from close range. As a business executive, the smallest sale from a long-time repeat customer is impossible to close, as your largest clients are leaving your company to do business with your competitor in droves. It’s painful!
I chose to use the unfortunate side of the word momentum as my example, because the beneficial side of it is mostly the product of luck, accident, circumstance. You don’t create momentum, you ride it once it has started rolling. The ride lasts only as long as its opposition can’t diffuse the energy that has created it. Once the opposition does identify the energy that we are calling “momentum,” and immediately takes action to bring that energy to a halt, he puts his team, company, family, event, etc. back in contention to win in a fair game, by removing that extra player from the field. He is now afforded the opportunity to get back to the core basics that deemed him a viable and worthy competitor.
So, call a timeout! Knock a free running player down on the ground! Organize a retreat! Fire somebody! Hire somebody! Close a department! Open a department! Increase the budget! Freeze the budget! Do something now, anything, right now, to stop the momentum of failure when you see it beginning to form. Not responding to negative trends in business is the number-one leading factor in businesses that go bankrupt. I’m hoping this Executive View wasn’t specifically written for you, but if it was, I hope it helped!
Until next time, plan, build, and continue to prosper!