How To Build Momentum In Business

I will start by asking two more basic and fundamental questions:

  • Firstly, what is Momentum?
  • Secondly, why we want to build Momentum in business?

I have asked above questions to uncle ‘Google’….

Momentum is essentially Physics team/concept. However, it is commonly used in sports, economy, projects and business.

  • “Dockers have gained momentum and they are turning out to be unstoppable force”
  • “Chinese economy is losing momentum in recent years”
  • “Due to lack of direction, project ‘Innocent’ is unable to gain any momentum”

All well and good!

But what does it really means?

Let us start with definition first:

Momentum is a product of Mass and Velocity

Momentum = Mass x Velocity

Therefore, higher mass and higher velocity results in higher momentum.

Imagine we both are standing on big empty straight road. I handover keys of big 4 wheel drive to you. You jump at driver’s seat and start accelerating car to north. First gear, second, third, fourth and fifth… Engine noise reduces, rpm gauge rests down and we both enjoy site scene while our car gains momentum.


Couple of things to note here:

  • When car gains momentum, there is not a lot of external force required to move car forward.
  • Higher Mass and higher Velocity results in higher Momentum. It also means that for a given Mass, higher momentum results in higher velocity.
  • Momentum must have a given direction. Remember, you were driving north on a big empty straight road.
  • Higher is the momentum, higher is the effort required to stop and/or change direction. This is the reason why big trucks use engine breaks and cars do not.

Ok, enough theory about momentum. Let’s get back to business.

Let us see what momentum means for Business (refer to above points):

  1. When business gains momentum, there is not a lot of external force required to move business forward.
  2. Higher momentum implies higher velocity (achievements/milestones)
  3. Business must have given direction (vision, objective, cause, goal) to gain momentum
  4. When Business entity gains momentum is requires higher effort to change direction

Points 1 and 2 above succinctly explains ‘Why we want to build momentum in business’

Let us now see how we can build Momentum in business:

How to build Momentum

  1. Direction: Business must have a clear and well-defined direction (Vision, Mission, Goal). Further, business leaders must communicate intended direction to entire business (including external stakeholders). Note that stakeholders do not only want to know your intended direction. They also want to know reasoning behind the direction.
  2. Velocity: When there is clear business direction. Then, leaders should cultivate culture of accountability and sense of urgency. It is about setting clear milestones; communicate importance of achieving set milestones and your personal commitment as a leader. It is about acknowledging and celebrating hard work and success. It is also about taking corrective actions for failures ASAP.
  3. Tactics: As business starts moving forward, leaders should change tactics (gears) to promote velocity. Leaders should consider expanding teams, restructuring, training, acquiring, selling, outsourcing, streamlining, investing etc. Design/organise your business in a way that offers minimum resistance (from inside and outside of business).
  4. Feedback: Develop robust feedback mechanism that clearly reports ‘promoters Vs stoppers’. As a leader, you need to be on top of what is working (or not working) and take corrective actions ASAP.

Some more points:

  • Aware of your Risks: For a given Mass, high momentum means high velocity. If business direction is not well-planned (or wrong) then there are high chances for catastrophic failure. In business world, there is never a clear road to success. Leaders must have to take measured risks.
  • Agility: In principle, it is not easy to change direction for Business that have gained high momentum. Develop agility in business structures, processes and culture. More on this in coming posts…

Here is a question for you!

What is your experience? What have you done in past to help building momentum?

Share your story! Leave me a comment!

1 Comment

  1. Great synopsis!

    Please add a placeholder for Community (commonly known in business as motivation). It is the hardest factor to pin down because business trains us to please others by saying yes first. Then you get “on the inside” and action comes to a standstill. The current approach is to blame motivation. I believe the real culprit is misalignment of belonging/community/tribe.


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