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Suboptimization as part of digital growth in business

The Paradox of Growth and Suboptimization

By Procurement No Comments

Ryan matthes Premikati, growth and suboptimization

Growth is the goal for pretty much any business worth its salt. We all want that upward trajectory of fatter profits, larger market share, and bigger-isn’t-always-better efficiencies.

But here’s the paradox – the very pursuit of exponential growth inevitably spawns cycles where the processes that once powered your success start to strain and suboptimize.

It’s a cruel paradox, but a completely natural one. Think about it – those lean, hyper-focused strategies and operations that propelled you from humble upstart to rising star don’t just magically scale seamlessly as you level up.

What was optimized for small-batch greatness inevitably gets pushed to the limits as the machine grows.

Why It’s Okay!

And so the cycle begins – you start noticing cracks in the finely-tuned execution, inefficiencies creeping in, and processes no longer fully aligned with your evolved goals and the breakneck market pace. Stop attempting to resist the notion and fight it – you have to know that it is ok to realize you’re suboptimized! If you ignore it as just some temporary growing pains, you will eventually realize that those optimization gaps become undeniable logjams crying out for fresh solutions.

That’s when the magic has to happen – you’ve got to take a hard look inward, get real about your suboptimal realities, and start innovating a new path forward. Whether it’s overhauling outdated workflows, adopting new technologies, or completely reframing how you approach a core piece of the business, this innovation reset is the only way to re-optimize for the bigger game you’re now playing.

Ugly as it sounds, these cycles of suboptimization are absolutely vital for any company looking to sustain its growth over the long haul. Let me state that again – not only is crucial for you and your leadership to admit that there is suboptimal processes, but those periods of both being and realizing that suboptimization happens is absolutely vital for a company and can repeatedly act as the catalyst to successive growth. These are ‘system reboots’ that provide fertile ground for organizational learning, an opportunity to get scrappy and creative in overhauling what isn’t working. It’s optimizing through purposeful de-optimization, if you will.

More than that, pushing through these cycles helps breed resilience and agility. You get better at anticipating and rapidly adapting to curveballs. You build muscles for proactively getting out ahead of stagnating processes before they become crises. And you steadily edge your whole company towards being more nimble, more receptive to change, more able to continuously realign with evolving market dynamics.

Of course, the key is recognizing the signs of suboptimization early through diligent monitoring and making space for early interventions and bold pivots before things become too calcified. It requires baking in a true culture of curiosity, experimentation, and learning from failures. An environment where people feel safe to take calculated risks to move the business forward.

There’s no static end state where a company has “achieved” some final optimized form.

Every new growth phase spawns its own cycle of suboptimization that must be navigated with the same proactive energy and commitment to innovation as before.

It’s a perverse paradox, no doubt – but also an awesome opportunity to double down on what’s allowed you to thrive so far.

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