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Is Your Business Flat or Three-Dimensional?

Is Your Business Flat or Three-Dimensional?

Many businesses focus resources on Delivery, neglecting Discovery and Development. As a result, they limp along with flatline growth as a one-dimensional business, excellent at execution but vulnerable due to lack of innovation.

Operation without innovation leads to stagnation.

One-dimensional businesses are great at getting things done. They know how to grind it out to get results. In their passionate focus on Delivery, they often miss the two other critical dimensions of exponential growth: Discovery and Development.

In this article, you will discover the difference between a flat, one-dimensional business and a 3D business. We'll explore the benefits of a 3D business. You'll learn how a one-dimensional business can become a 3D business.

A Flat, One-Dimensional Business

This business focuses on execution. Job descriptions focus on delivery: sales and marketing deliver revenue, operations delivers on what was promised, and finance ensures profitability. 

Operational excellence is the name of the game. Ideas get shoved to the side in meetings that focus primarily on resolving issues and getting back to work. Every so often a new idea gets brought to the surface by the founder or a courageous employee. But unless the idea is related to solving a pressing issue, most other ideas related to growth and strategy get squashed, never to see the light of day.

A 3D Business

A 3D business blends operational excellence with innovation. They listen to Jim Collins' advice in Built To Last which says every business needs to “preserve the core AND stimulate progress.”

A 3D business understands the importance of innovation in every aspect of the business.

  • They have structured their business to ensure that time is spent working ON the business, not just working IN the business.
  • They value Stephen Covey’s advice to pause to “Sharpen the Saw.”

  • They don’t only excel at resolving issues, they excel at bringing new ideas to market. 

A 3D approach looks at business in three phases: Discovery, Development, and Delivery.

1. Discovery

“I wonder how we could provide more value to our ideal clients?” Businesses that value innovation put structures, systems, and scorecards in place to ensure a steady stream of new ideas.

Unfortunately, many businesses rely on random acts of innovation, hoping that the founder will come up with some good ideas. 3D businesses look for innovative talent in every department in the company. They assemble these people on a consistent basis to come up with new ideas in four core areas:

  1. Products and Services

  2. Go-To-Market Strategy

  3. Client Experience

  4. Systems and Processes

2. Development

Ideas must be developed if they hope to be properly implemented. One-dimensional companies may get an idea from time to time. However, since they lack the structure and systems to develop the ideas, most of them never get properly implemented.

A 3D business has processes to develop ideas. They know how to pilot ideas with a minimum viable product, getting feedback from ideal clients. They have a process to optimize these ideas based on the feedback. Then, they know how to package the good ideas for implementation.

3. Delivery

3D companies are great at execution. However, they differ from one-dimensional companies in one key area: they know how to roll out new ideas. This involves leadership and culture. Leaders champion new ideas, galvanizing the team around taking action in a new direction. They nurture an open-minded culture of growth. They recognize people who embrace positive change.

How To Become a 3D Company

Moving from a one-dimensional company to a 3D company starts with a decision to value innovation. Next, you identify people on your team who have Working Geniuses® of innovation. Then, you implement systems to ensure a consistent stream of discovery and development.

The benefits of becoming a 3D company are exponential: 

  1. Increased revenue from new/enhanced products and services 

  2. Increased growth from new go-to-market strategies

  3. Increased client retention with improved client satisfaction

  4. Increased profit with streamlined systems and processes

If you would like to become a 3D business I invite you to schedule a free 90-minute Briefing with a Strategic Innovation Guide. Before we meet I'll send you a copy of A Visionary's Guide to Strategic Innovation so you can see how you could become a 3D business and avoid the risk of stagnation.


Darrell Amy is a growth architect, with a unique perspective on how to grow revenue. Most books are written from the perspective of either sales or marketing. Darrell brings both together to help companies develop and implement strategies to grow. He is the author of Revenue Growth Engine: How To Align Sales & Marketing To Accelerate Growth.

Darrell’s passion is to make the world a better place. Serving on the board of several non-profits, he has a front row seat to see the impact of financial gifts from successful businesses. Out of this, he helped launch the Grow4Good movement with the goal of helping 10,000 great businesses double revenue so they can grow employment while also giving back to their communities.

Over the past 25 years, Darrell has been deeply involved in both sales and marketing.  He has worked with hundreds of companies ranging from Fortune 100 organizations to local family-owned businesses. During that time, he’s trained thousands of sales people, most recently creating solutions sales training for a global technology company. He’s started several digital marketing agencies, helping companies implement inbound marketing strategies.

You may also contact Darrell at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.


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