Momentum is often talked about in the sporting, political and financial world as a vitally important requirement to achieving high levels of performance.

Winning streaks are often directly linked to momentum.

In the constantly changing commercial landscape facing organisations’ today, more and more founders, entrepreneurs and leaders are recognising the benefits of using momentum to help them to deliver change, growth, competitive advantage and success for their business.

The following 10 points will help you to understand the significance of momentum and how it can be used in a powerful way to deliver spectacular business performance on your journey.

1. Business momentum is defined as the effective use of resources, expertise and energy in order to keep the organisation moving forward towards its desired destination.

Momentum is achieved through the accumulation of a series of successes, one after another, which contributes to the realisation of the organisation’s potential.

Momentum is driven by the behaviour, actions and activities of individuals connected with the organisation. Behaviour and momentum are directly linked to the success enjoyed by any business in any marketplace.

2. Behaviour starts with the leader. Influence, direction and navigation should characterise their day-to-day leadership focus.

The role of the leader is to decide the destination and use the knowledge and experience available to chart the course and navigate the landscape facing the business.

The ‘vision for the business’ best describes the destination and it should be simple, ambitious and inspiring enough to encourage others to play a personal part on the journey.

Effective leadership and the production of a compelling vision will generate excitement amongst others and will build and sustain momentum.

3. Delivering business success requires the support of everyone. The recruitment of an early mass of supporters’, like-minded individuals with the desire to embark on the journey, is needed to create a sense of urgency and a climate of performance in the workplace.

Momentum may start with the leader, but it quickly flows to others.

The vision should be shared with suppliers, partners and stakeholders who will in turn, use it to galvanise the support of others on the journey.

External parties contribute immensely to achieving momentum.

4. Airline pilots use maximum thrust at take-off and the power of momentum to then cruise at their desired speed. Business leaders can relate to this analogy.

Getting off to a great start is important on any journey. Maximum thrust from the outset can be achieved on the business journey by looking around and including everyone you know in the momentum-building process.

Every individual connected with the business brings something unique to the journey and the combined use of their talent, resources and expertise at the right time creates a powerful force which enables the business to overcome challenges, obstacles and hurdles along the way.

Team work, collective focus and timing create thrust, momentum and high-performance.

5. Clear, specific and measureable goals are needed in order to inspire performance on the journey.

Revenue, margin, profitability and cash flow objectives for the business (the big four) should be linked to the performance expected of everyone connected with the business including all external parties.

Being busy is a characteristic of momentum.

Setting, reminding and sharing each individual’s contribution focuses everyone on the priority activities and behaviours which have the most impact on the big four.

Accomplishment and achievement help to sustain momentum. Busy fools hinder momentum on the journey.

6. Setbacks in performance can sometimes affect the mind-set and attitude of others on the journey and potentially halt the progress of the business.

It need not be like this.

Many individuals love to overcome challenges and adversity. In fact the bigger the challenge, the greater the level of support will often be realised throughout the business.

Every hurdle and obstacle is a milestone on the journey and a source of potential achievement and accomplishment. People should be encouraged to always look for the positives.

Celebrate success, no matter how small and use the emotion and feelings generated from the progress made to spur them on to new levels of performance.

Success follows success. Momentum reinforces momentum.

7. Many leaders are so focused on the achievement of the next period’s targets that they often forget to reflect for a few moments and review the progress made on their unique journey.

Leaders should always produce a visual diagram and record of their journey highlighting the starting point, challenges, milestones, changes, barriers, issues and successes along the way.

When times are tough, the visual interpretation will help to inspire the leader and others to continue towards the destination planned for the journey.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Visualising, recording and communicating the journey help to sustain momentum.

8. Success (or progress) on the journey can be hugely addictive. The sheer joy of delivering outstanding performance instils greater confidence and commitment from others to what can be achieved in the workplace.

The main principle behind the use of momentum is to quickly capitalise on the success achieved.

Don’t ever take a break or pause soon after a success as this will inevitably stall the performance of the business. But be careful, because disaster may be lurking around the corner.

Morale and energy levels will always fluctuate. Exhaustion, illness, stress and burnout are never far away on the journey. Holidays, fun and relaxation time should form part of the journey experience.

Taking regular temperature checks and recharging the batteries are important to sustaining momentum.

9. Sustaining momentum is a constant challenge and in many organisations the reasons for losing momentum are often identified too late.

A good performance one month can also mask a poor performance in the next.

Observing the behaviour of individuals is an important aspect of the leader’s role on the journey as changes in attitudes and behaviour offer early warning signs of the future performance of the business.

There are many reasons for changes in the mood and behaviour of others.

Success and change are an inevitable part of the journey particularly in a growing organisation.

However, new personnel, promotions, terms and conditions and ways of working can unsettle many individuals resulting in a loss of performance momentum on the journey.

Understanding and observing the behaviour of others is critical to sustaining momentum.

10. Building and sustaining momentum on the journey should never be taken for granted.

Great journeys offer an inspiring destination, milestones along the way, a unique experience and a real sense of adventure.

Camaraderie and fun make the journey worthwhile.

All too often, successful business leaders put in place the things needed to create a high-performing workplace, but over time the pressures of growth and success can result in a gradual cessation of what once worked well for the organisation.

Momentum is a simple but powerful process of using the collective force of energy, commitment, expertise and talent to overcome challenges and achieve spectacular business performance.

Momentum is important to business success.

But remember, you will always have to work at it.

Best wishes on your journey, wherever it may take you.

John Stein

Article first produced for Business Zone