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Why we created the Volition Index

Updated: 4 days ago

Navigating the invisible challenges of company-building

Building companies is a messy, unpredictable process that is hard to measure objectively or consistently, especially when it’s happening. As a result, many growth-stage startups and thousands of other medium-sized businesses stall or fail not because they didn’t build a useful product or service but because they failed to build a sustainable company around that product. Often, once companies get past 50 employees, let alone 100 or more, the wheels start to come off, and the systemic risks multiply behind the scenes. 

Traditional financial and product performance KPIs are often trailing indicators of success or failure. By the time organizational problems show up in these metrics,  it’s often too late - the company’s momentum has already stagnated or it's on a path to failure.

Emerging systemic weaknesses are less clear at first and more obvious in retrospect. Companies are repeatedly felled by common issues: loss of trust in leadership, misalignment on strategy, or an inflexible operating model. Sometimes, an emerging toxic culture kills energy and innovation long before the financials go sideways. While there are always clues, there has been no systemic measurement or standards to identify these problems before they become fatal flaws. 

Larger companies often tackle emerging organizational issues by hiring expensive consultants like McKinsey, whose Organizational Health Index (OHI) is a gold standard in diagnostics. However, these engagements start at $500k and go up from there. Smaller and medium-sized companies may turn to boutique consultancies and coaches, but each one has its unique methodology and tools, often bundled with other costly services. Even these engagements can quickly run into six figures, with few objective standards or consistent measurement of what “good” means in organizational performance.

Despite this messiness, clear, common, and measurable patterns do indicate the likelihood of future success or failure at a company.

Countless academic studies have shown that "soft skills" like trust, strategic alignment, and agility correlate with performance outcomes. We see the same patterns in our consulting work as well. Most of these studies focus on one or more of what we call the “Core Four” disciplines of high-performance companies.

  1. A winning strategy with alignment and buy-in to direction and goals

  2. An agile operating model that enables a high cadence of work and an organization that is pulling in the same direction

  3. A vibrant culture, with committed teams, and high levels of trust, and accountability

  4. Effective leaders who inspire and focus a team

Introducing the Volition IndexTM

The Volition Index gives leaders clear and quick answers to three crucial questions: “What does ‘good’ look like in a high-performance company?”, “How are we doing by comparison?”, and “What should we do about it?” And When financial resources and personnel time are in limited supply, the Volition Index is designed to be swift and affordable, with minimal demand on you and your staff’s precious time.

We’ve tapped into a vast array of research and business books on how non-financial factors correlate to future company success. We interviewed CEOs, investors, business school professors, and research experts. We talked to startup founders about their experiences navigating the inevitable “management debt” that’s inherent to fast-growing organizations. We analyzed data from years of running bespoke company diagnostics to establish our initial benchmark scores.

After months of heads-down work, we’re excited to release our first product: a personalized Volition Index report. It’s a tool that allows anyone to instantly score their individual experience at a company against our benchmarks. I’m incredibly excited about this release!
Where we go from here

We aim to provide leaders with the data they need to make decisions about their companies and take control of their destinies. We envision the Volition Index becoming the standardized measure of company health and performance, especially for smaller organizations (typically under 1000 employees) that often can’t get access to this kind of data. Essentially, we aim to be the “internal NPS” of SMBs and scale-ups. Whether or not we reach that goal, we are excited to launch this new tool, and give teams the objective information they need to identify emergent issues and take action before it’s too late – with or without external consultants.

We invite you to join us on this journey. Try our free individual report or get in touch to see how we can help your entire organization.


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