The Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules

In this week’s Power Idea, we continue our discussion about Strategic Alignment.  This is an extremely important topic and I want to thank our lead expert on Stages of Growth, Strategic Partner, Diane Janovsky.  This week Diane talks about 5 non-negotiable rules for each Stage of Growth that must be followed to ensure success and sustainability.  Enjoy this week’s Power Idea.  If you missed seeing the earlier articles on this topic, either visit our website at or ask for copies at 

Continuing with our theme of Strategic Alignment, this week we turn to the topic of the “Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules” as the third layer of alignment within the Seven Stages of Growth.

As discussed previously, James Fischer conducted extensive research with 650 CEO’s over six years that resulted in the Seven Stages of Growth model.  Within that model, Fischer discovered that there are certain deep and stage-specific issues that must be addressed in order to effectively and profitably move to the next stage of growth.  For each of the Seven Stages of Growth, he identified five of what he called the “Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules.” Within each of the five Rules, there are three sub-questions that further define and describe that Rule.

For example, the first Rule for a Stage One company is to “Generate, track and preserve cash.” One of the associated sub-questions for that Rule is “Is there a focus on getting new customers and increasing both transaction value and frequency to build top line revenue?”  If a Stage One company is spending too much time on efforts that do not directly lead to revenue and cash, then it is likely destined for failure.

The value of the Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules is two-fold.  First of all, business owners do not need to guess which key issues they must focus on in order to be successful at each Stage of Growth.  They do not need to reinvent the wheel. They can get ahead of the game because they are able to dependably predict and proactively address critical areas that enable sustainable growth.

Second, and perhaps most powerful, is the objective measure of alignment that results when the business owner AND the leadership team assess the company’s level of accomplishment against each of the Rules and sub-questions. It is not uncommon for the owner’s perception and the leadership team members’ perceptions to be different, sometimes significantly.  The resulting dialogue clarifies understanding, raises awareness and becomes the foundation for moving forward in strategic alignment.

If you would like to understand more about the Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules and your company’s Stage of Growth, we’d be happy to help.  Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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