• Donald Davis

Vertical Growth vs. Horizontal

In his bestselling book Getting Things Done, David Allen breaks down Horizontal Focus as the process and steps that often result in moving a project forward. Vertical focus is the innovation or creation of new art.

I have previously posted information about this same topic (See Graphic Above). After seeing organizations that slow their development of a new diagnostic or new treatment due to focusing too much on the business process side of the organization. You can either apply your focus to moving your organization forward or you can apply your focus to innovating, creating or developing new solutions.

Many leaders think that they can do both but it is a real struggle. How can leaders create balance? Large organizations achieve this balance through their structure. Engineering or Development departments are oftentimes separated from operational departments. The expectation for creative individuals is that they will focus all of their efforts on being creative. While individuals focused on standardization are building the runway to make the organization sustainable. In new organizations this is an extreme risk because there simply are not enough bodies to focus on both so something has to give.

How smaller organizations can cope:

  1. Leverage infrastructure that will help your organization develop sustainable processes

  2. Leverage external experienced leaders who can provide guidance

  3. Hire consultants that can support items that are not core competencies that you have with the expectation that they deliver sustainable results.

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