Your Business – Roller Coaster, Merry-go-round or Bumper Cars…?

Amusement Parks have been evolving for hundreds of years.   The oldest park in the world is Bakken, located in Klampenborg, Denmark.  It first opened in 1583!  Currently, in North America, there are approximately 400 amusement parks of various different degrees and themes.  And, Florida wins the tournament as far as having the highest number of the most popular parks.

A recent Spring break trip to Universal in Orlando was a reminder that when it comes to parks with rides there are 3 staples that you can usually count on; Roller Coasters, Merry-Go-Rounds, and Bumper Cars.   The technology and engineering put into roller coasters in the last 20 years have been amazing. The other two haven’t changed all that much, but most parks are not complete without them.

So what do these rides have to do with your business?  Buckle up…..

If you think of your business as one of these three rides which one best describes it?    It is an exhilarating Roller Coaster, a relaxing Merry-Go-Round, or a Bumper Car with the constant fear of being jolted from all directions?  Though your business may favor one over the other, the correct answer is probably a healthy blend of all three.

Roller Coasters are about excitement, energy, and enthusiasm.   They’re for thrill seekers.   High speed coasters are packed with multi-story drops, cork screws, loops and tight turns.   Entrepreneurial businesses would most likely choose this ride as the one that best describes them.  But every business should have some elements of a roller coaster in it.   Occasionally you may get sick, but most of the time a good coaster is an energizer.   Whether your business is 2 years old or 20 years old make sure your team enjoys the excitement of a good Roller Coaster from time-to-time.  It will keep your business fresh and build a healthy and valuable business.

Merry-Go-Rounds or Carousels are the exact opposite of high speed coasters.  Unless you’re a toddler, they’re simply calming and relaxing.   There aren’t any surprises when you ride a Carousel.   You simply go around in circles and always end up at the same place you started.  Every business needs to have some qualities of the Merry-Go-Round.   Good leaders know that structure is required even in a business that promotes autonomy.   Foundational components like Core Values are part of the Carousel.   A Merry-Go-Round keeps your company grounded and provides a safe place to go during times of trial or uncertainty, but you do have to step off or you’ll never go anywhere.

Bumper Cars are about the unexpected and the accidents.   Over the course of the ride you are likely to get hit from all sides and some will hit you multiple times.   In business, some would argue you would want to completely eliminate the effects of a bumper car, but that is not realistic.   Accidents do happen, and sometimes the results are game changers.  Penicillin and Velcro were both “bumper cars” – accidental discoveries that were huge.  But a business that favors a bumper car too much is usually a stuck business.    The unexpected is part of business, but if bumper cars describe your company on a daily basis there may be bigger issues you need to address.

What do you think?   Which one of these rides best describes your business?  Is there one you’re spending too much time on and it’s hurting your business?   Are you ready to do something about it?   

Is there a favorite roller coaster of other ride you would like to recommend?   My local favorite is the Mamba (video) at Worlds of Fun, that first drop is awesome!   At Universal,  The Incredible Hulk (video) won me over; it’s hard to beat getting launched up out of tunnel to the ROAR of the hulk!

As always we value your comments in the space below.   Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach