December 3, 2023

Unveiling the Hidden Drivers of Success: Transforming Businesses with Tacit Knowledge

The Dilemma of Innovation and Engagement in Business

In the realm of business growth and innovation, a striking dilemma exists. According to McKinsey, about 84% of global executives consider innovation crucial to their growth strategy, yet a mere 6% are satisfied with their innovation performance. This disparity is echoed by Bain's finding that only about one in nine companies achieve sustained, profitable growth over a decade. Furthermore, Gallup's report that 85% of employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work paints a concerning picture of the modern workplace.These numbers are abysmal and, sadly, some business leaders and professors I know have come to accept and expect them. These are not thrivers.

Thriving vs. Surviving: The Role of Serially Successful Intrapreneurs

The thrivers I know are exceptions. The companies, and parts of the business they lead, are internal entrepreneurial winners. Mapping their projects over time, you find: sustained financial success, operational excellence, engaged employees, happy customers, collaborative partners, cultures open to new businesses and new ways of doing business, and adherence to a deeply rooted core that helps the company make meaning as well as money.

For over thirty years I have consulted, taught, learned from, and become friends with an impressive set of serially successful intrapreneurs (SSI’s).  For the record, I consider myself an SSI, and I am proud to run with this band of Cultural Cowboys. I have recorded what we do that is different from the norm, and what happens when projects succeed, when they fail outright, and when they wither. Interestingly, all the SSI’s I know have outlooks, principles, and pieces of a method they employ, but most of what they do to catalyze success, to this point, has been tacit knowledge hidden in their minds, habits, and beliefs. They are winners, characterized by:

  • Sustained financial success
  • Operational excellence
  • High employee engagement
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Collaborative partnerships
  • Cultures fostering new business ventures
  • Adherence to a core ethos that balances meaning with monetary gain

This concept of tacitness is not surprising. Why? Because as I unearthed, vetted, and made the Method more systematic, we realized the power source to growing and thriving, across conditions, is also tacit in most companies. Despite great human intelligence and burgeoning artificial intelligence, most of us (and our businesses) are not very good at recognizing and utilizing the networks of assets and opportunities lying hidden, dormant, or underutilized in the internal and external networks of companies. And yet, when we tap them properly, businesses and people grow.  When we ignore them, they become barriers to growth or factors that prevent businesses and people from reaching their potential.

Unlocking the Power of Hidden Treasures

In my upcoming book, The Power of Hidden Treasures: How to Break Through Growth Barriers, Catapulting Your Business from Surviving to Thriving, I aim to demystify this tacit knowledge. The goal is to provide you and your teams with the tools and insights needed to uncover and utilize these hidden assets. This guide is not just about material success; it's about fostering growth in deeply human ways, setting your business on a trajectory towards not just surviving, but thriving.

Stay tuned for more insights and strategies to transform your business approach and unlock the full potential of your organization.