Torque or speed is a fundamental attribute of organizational growth. If you’ve ever used a wrench connected to a nut or bolt, you know that it produces what’s referred to as torque, a turning force that loosens or tightens the nut or the bolt.
Torque is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis. Just as a force is a push or a pull, a torque can be thought of as a twist. As you can see in the picture, the magnitude of torque or that force depends on three quantities: (1) the force applied, (2) the length of the lever arm connecting the axis to the point of force application, and (3) the angle between the two.
The torque or speed of growth works very similarly in organizations. The axis, which force is applied to, is your external market opportunity. This may be launching a new product or service launch, trying to penetrate a new account, or perhaps entering a new geographic market. Give consideration to the following three areas when thinking about the torque, or speed, of growth.
The force you apply to that market opportunity is a combination of your people, their resources to invest (such as training and development), a repeatable and predictable sales process, market research, competitive analysis, and marketing communication.
Length of the Lever Arm
The length of the lever arm connected to the axis is your physical proximity to the market opportunity. This is why it’s difficult to parachute into a new geography you’re trying to grow and why field-marketing campaigns are seldom effective when they’re run from ‘‘corporate’’ 3,000 miles away by people without village knowledge.
Angle Between Market Opportunity and Force
The angle between your market opportunity and your force consists of your strategic relationships. Build a robust portfolio of relationships that can provide unique and actionable insights, reciprocate value, and accelerate your ability to get things done, and you’ll infinitely enhance your torque or speed of growth.
Why does torque or speed of growth matter? It is the difference between having the ‘‘first mover’’ advantage and being a fast follower. In many markets, there is an inherent window of market opportunity and a very real and often substantial opportunity cost of not getting the torque or speed of growth right.
To learn more, read the revised and updated Relationship Economics paperback edition with 40 percent new content, including an all-new chapter 10 on social media and business relationships (Wiley, Feb. 2011).