Mach 10

By: Chad Allen

Have you seen the new Top Gun, “Maverick”? Before you continue, this blog has a minor spoiler about the movie’s beginning, so beware!

How many blogs, articles, and books discuss the need for new sales, how to close deals, how to get leads, and how to keep your pipeline full? A lot! And if you want to find out how to do those things, the answers won’t be in this blog.

I’d like to discuss the opposite.

When new sales are closed and your pipeline is full, the need to deliver to your customers is much more prevalent. Your need for more sales and more leads typically transitions to keeping your customers happy and doing a good job - that is afterall one of your best forms of marketing. This is what I call the Sales Curve and you can read more on that here. This is what I call the Full Work Phase.

Most teams can power through 2-4 week sprints of insanity and stress. Our focus is on the longer seasons, defined as 6-18 months. The key to surviving this longer period is keeping up a steady pace while:

  • Limiting burnout and still having fun
  • Creating incentives for the high-output team members who are stepping up
  • Hiring the right people by evaluating needs for now and beyond instead of throwing unlimited resources at the problem.
  • Fixing processesthat add efficiency and money to the team’s pocket.
  • Regrouping because the last thing you want is your overhead to grow so much that your profit in these great opportunistic times is stagnant, or worse, shrinking.

At the beginning of Top Gun “Maverick,” Maverick is a part of a unit proving they can take a plane to Mach 10. They had been testing for some time, going from Mach 7 and so on, adjusting the aircraft’s overall engineering based on the previous test. The goal? Get to Mach 10 strategically so the aircraft does not burst into flames. As they are getting ready for their Mach 9 test, they get notified that they are about to be shut down, and the person shutting them down was almost there.

So what does Maverick do? He jumps in the plane and decides to push the Mach 9 test to Mach 10 in a style only Maverick can do.

So, what is the point? He took an aircraft prepared to go Mach 9 and pushed it to Mach 10. He did not take a Mach 7 aircraft and push it to Mach 10. He would have been dust in the atmosphere! What level of Mach is your business prepared to go? How many of you have been in this situation in your business? Lucky you! Having more work is always better than not having enough.

Everyone wants to grow and growth is usually determined solely by revenue and profits - but it’s much more than that. It’s overall expansion that strains your entire organization.

My recommendation: Regroup often and rhythmically with your leadership team. A regular regroup allows you to reinforce the hull of your aircraft that is going Mach 10 (whether you like it or not) when the hull is rated for Mach 7. Regroups should be structured, routine, and ideally offsite or after hours.

  • Limit distractions
  • Add breaks
  • Have healthy debate
  • Decide on priorities

It is remarkable how the most challenging situations can seem to have peace once all parties are on the same page and motivated. When everyone is aligned, you’ll realize you are actually ready for Mach 9 (Going up one Mach is better than going up 3!)

Solving problems and figuring out puzzles is fun - but when it is your business and you don’t have the answer, it’s not so fun. Have a focused war room and get all key people on the same page. Opportunities are a blessing and you should want to keep the marketing and sales machines running and know if your aircraft is ready for Mach 10 even if you have to push it there from Mach 9.