Capturing Greenland - Exercises in Futility

How often have you found that what you accomplished didn’t bring the result you expected? All too often, business owners find that they don’t get what they thought they were getting. When they get there (wherever there is), they find that what they have done has essentially been a waste of time and effort, that it has simply become an exercise in futility. This is a process that I call “capturing Greenland”.

In my experience, this is most usually linked to an attempt to grow the company. Quite apart from the more obvious reasons why this happens (lack of research into the viability of the plan and lack of management as the plan gets implemented) I believe that it is often because of an intrinsic failure to go through a basic visioning process to see how your company will look and feel when you get where you are going.

I found this out the hard way when grew my company at 45% a year for eight consecutive years and then wished I hadn't. When I got to 200 employees it was a radically different company than when I started and I didn't like it. Worst of all, we were working a lot harder, taking more risk, and making less money than we did when we were smaller.

Some examples of capturing Greenland include if you:

  • Double the top line and halve the bottom line
  • Grow the business and end up working harder than you did before
  • Grow and end up with something worth less than it was when you started out
  • Take on too many projects and lose focus on the most important
  • Change the culture into something you no longer control or like

Capturing Greenland will cost you hard earned time, resources and energy that might be more profitably employed elsewhere. There’s a simple test you can apply to your decisions that you can access here.