More than a few years ago, several of us would record music segments and splice them together to create what we called a “wonderloop.” Sometimes the only wonder was why we did it in the first place.

After getting involved in the business world, I discovered that the wonderloop concept was transferable. In business, it wasn’t music or sounds that I wanted playing over and over. It was product or service performance.

In earlier posts this week (Blueprint for High Performance Culture and Using the Right CAD System to Improve Business Performance), I laid out a blueprint for building a high performance culture. Getting predictable and consistent products or services time after time is what makes businesses successful; and some organizations are doing quite well teaching entrepreneurs just how to do that.

Unfortunately, some of them do that in a “one size fits all” framework. There are several organizational wonderloops. According to Michael Treacy, author of The Discipline of Market Leaders, the most common wonderloop models are Operational Excellence, Product Innovation, and Customer Intimacy.

The most successful companies are at least acceptable in all three; but they have chosen to excel in only one.

That’s where your values and your CAD (Choices and Decisions) System come in to play. Which one will be your bastion of excellence? Some of you, perhaps many of you, may be thinking “I want to be excellent in all three.” That’s a noble thought, but Treacy and my experience with dozens of companies lead me to believe that’s not going to happen.

Each of these business models has a different business focus, requires different skill sets, emphasizes a different way of doing business. In a nutshell, Operational Excellence focuses on pricing; Product Innovation on quick commercialization; and Customer Intimacy on relationships and solutions. Giving all three top priority in the same organization is somewhat like putting lions, tigers, and cougars all in the same cage. You can bet there will be a turf war before the day is over.

Using your High Performance Blueprint, you can check the alignment of your business model to your guiding principles (mission/purpose, vision, and values). If you find that your model and your principles aren’t riding along smoothly, you need to change your

In either case, you can use the Choices and Decisions (CAD) System table demonstrated in a previous post. I think you will find it a very useful tool in helping identify and develop solutions for inconsistent performance related to a business model choice that’s out of alignment with your guiding principles. Life is tough enough when what you’re out to accomplish is possible. It becomes a lot tougher when you’re trying to accomplish the next to impossible. Don’t get caught in the wrong wonderloop.

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