Push Past your Profit Plateau

It can be hard for a business owner to know how to take their business to the next level of growth and profitability. If you’ve reached a revenue or profit level plateau, it could be that knowing how to scale your business is not a skill in your skillset — yet.

A classic management book on scaling has made a recent comeback and could be your ticket to leveling up your business. High Output Management, written by ex-chairman and CEO of Intel Andrew Grove was originally published back in 1983 but has resurfaced in popularity in Silicon Valley. While not widely known outside of the Bay Area, many readers claim it’s the best management book they have ever read; some even claim it’s life-changing. It is certainly a timeless and invaluable read for business owners and managers.

In the book, Grove applies the principles of engineering and manufacturing production to management. It’s all about process: developing processes and procedures so that you can track what’s going on and measure the results, or output, every step of the way. Only then can you improve the process so that it leads to high output.

Grove also delves into the ways managers can motivate their team members and affect production outputs. He focuses on the concept of leverage, which enables scaling both positively and negatively, and how it can affect employees’ output. An act of positive leverage might occur when a manager adds a “nudge” activity to enable their employees’ work, while a negative example might occur when a manager meddles with the progress an employee is making. 

We’ve all been the victim of an ineffective meeting, and Grove breaks down the idea of holding purpose-driven meetings while touching on key meeting topics such as decision-making, planning, motivation, performance reviews, and values.

One of the most significant highlights from the book, however, drives home a message we’ve all heard before: change starts from within. If you’re a business owner who’s motivated to improve the output of your organization, the first, most important step is to train yourself. Only then will you be able to rally the troops and push past your profit plateau.