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What Evander Holyfield Says About How To Grow Your Company

We examine the essence of exponential growth within companies.

What Evander Holyfield Says About How To Grow Your Company

Posted Wednesday October 22nd, 2014 by in Analysis + Strategy.

We are all too familiar with the essence of the fight: speed beats strength. No one epitomized this concept more than Bruce Lee. Here’s what the World Champion boxer, Evander Holyfield, had to say about whom many consider to be the greatest martial artist of all time:

“The main thing about Bruce Lee is that he was a little guy. And you know, his quickness, his aggressiveness, his explosive power, you have to be a great athlete to have all these – his body, his look, you know, all these things have to do with discipline and structure. He was able to go against the biggest guy, regardless of who he was.”So, what does all of this have to do with business? When we examine the essence of exponential growth within companies, we find the same qualities within them: quickness, aggression, and explosive power.

Let’s look at quickness first. Big ships take longer to turn around, so does that mean a large company can’t iterate or innovate? We know firsthand from Google, Apple and the like that this simply isn’t true. They have found ways to act quickly by initiating small, nimble departments that can circumvent red tape and actually get projects off the ground in an entrepreneurial way.

Speaking of the entrepreneurial way, entrepreneurs are aggressive about most everything they do, including vision, problem-solving, and customer response. Think of Verizon, then think of Zappos. Both large companies, but one is aggressive in its promise of value, and the other isn’t (I’ll let you decide which is which).

The third element here is explosive power. All too often, we see mission statements or taglines that lack any power, never mind explosive power. Explosive power is what you get when you feed your team with a clear vision for the future, and you nurture that vision with an unrelenting obsession. Zappos, with its severe customer service promise, has explosive power because it transcends product delivery and reaches into the concept of providing exceptional service to human beings, plain and simple.

So, why do so many companies struggle with finding Bruce Lee’s sweet spot of success? Well, as Mr. Holyfield points out, companies lack discipline and the structure to implement quick attacks.

What Evander Holyfield says about how to grow your company is this: be the company with discipline and structure. Be the company to engineer quickness, positive aggression, and explosive power. Do this by engineering ways to be entrepreneurial. Initiate small projects that have the potential for high ROI, and that circumvent traditional red tape.

Several small, powerful shots will triumph over one big powerful shot, particularly if the big move is in the wrong direction. If you’re a large company that finds it difficult to change, make small steps in the right direction by restructuring some committees that operate outside of the normal system.

If Evander Holyfield were a businessman, he would definitely run his business like Bruce Lee. But for his size and shape, I think we can all agree that boxing fits him just fine.


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