What kind of obstacles are constraining your growth?
Few companies plan for anything other than strong growth—usually several points stronger than the rate of GDP growth. Just like the residents of the fictional Lake Woebegone, all our children are above average and all our new product efforts are going to be successful.
But back in the real world that’s not how it works. That’s because few growth plans actually anticipate the obstacles that new product efforts can be expected to encounter.
As an example, I was recently talking with a frustrated new product executive from a large supplier of gasoline driven products sold through Big Box DIY retailers. Her team had just spent 3 years and many millions of dollars designing and building a very innovative new product line moving the company into battery driven products. She was shocked when, at the last moment, her sales colleagues sank the deal with concerns about the technology partner’s supply reliability and the brand reputation effects they might suffer if the new technology was not as robust or serviceable as expected.