After the Gold Rush [ARCHIVE]

Originally published on the Shirlaws Business Coaching Blog, 2007-2010.

In my last post I discussed my personal theme for this year, and previously I outlined that the general purpose of my blog is to spark ideas and conversation. Clearly, I appreciate the benefits that come from having a clear ‘one word‘ filter. So what’s the one word for the blog this year? 


You see, for the last decade, essentially my whole business life, “Growth” has been the dominant strategy. Gold went above $US900/ounce; Oil touched $US100/barrel; my house is worth four times what it was at the turn of the millennium (which makes me wish I’d bought it then instead of twelve months ago). And let’s not forget that the Dow Jones et al recently reached record highs.

Growth at these levels can’t go on forever. Why? Because growth at these levels leaves behind gaps in businesses and markets, gaps that lead to waste and an inability to meet expectations. Recent adjustments on international stock markets, linked to property downturns and recession fears in the US, may be signaling that the ‘what comes next?’ question needs to be answered.

After Growth, according to the futurists as well as the Shirlaws coaching frameworks, is a period of “Platforms”. Even discussions on innovation are looking at improving efficiencies, rather than increasing possible output.

It’s clear to see that much of the latest growth, which increases capacity to produce but not necessarily production, has been financed through debt and based on a fear of missing out. It’s only natural that this will create shortages and that the following period will require improved efficiencies to increase revenue. It’s time to stop looking outside, and start looking inside to see how you can drive real revenue by delivering better value.

So that will be the thrust of my blog this year. Naturally, I’ll start by looking where my passion lies – technology. And you can’t have a ‘business geek’ without ‘business’, so expect plenty of practical learnings and ideas to improve efficiencies in your business.

And this doesn’t mean there won’t still be growth opportunities, even priorities, for individual businesses. I’m talking macro, and even in those businesses improved efficiencies will be important. So what are you doing to be more efficient in 2008? And how long do you believe this period of efficiency will last, or am I being premature?

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