Gradient GrowthHave you ever tried riding a bicycle uphill? Did you sit down and pedal intently, or did you stand up and just try to survive? Were you on a casual cruiser or a road bike with multiple gears to support your efforts? How long did it take, and how did you feel at the top of the hill? Did you or would you do it again?

The difference between feeling like Lance Armstrong sprinting uphill or Dom DeLuise riding a unicycle is a combination of the intensity and consistency of your training, your nutritional discipline, your competitive nature, and perhaps the experience and tenacity of your coach.

The chart shows an example of biking up that hill; the typical linear growth is shown in line 1 (this is your ‘‘steady as she goes’’ nice little hill), cubic growth is shown in line 2 (this is some of the hills in the north Georgia mountains), and exponential growth is shown in line 3 (think cycling in downtown San Francisco).

Examples of exponential growth include:

  • Multilevel Marketing – where each member recruits multiple others
  • Moore’s Law – whereby the maximum number of transistors that can be put on a microprocessor chip inexpensively doubles every 18 months
  • Compound Interest – which increases principal exponentially

The same idea applied to your organization’s gradient or slope of growth means that revenue depends exponentially on time when your current revenue results, multiplied by some growth factor, would create a future revenue target.

What if we applied the same idea to your view of a strategic relationship? That’s what we’ll discuss in a future post.

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