Think about someone you know in a high growth company. I’ll wait a second…
If you’ve ever spoken about the ‘secrets’ to their success, what kind of answer did you get? Sometimes it’s the market, other times it’s the product, but more often it’s not something you can put your finger on. The company is growing, customers are happy, staff are working hard (and are engaged) and the revenue is booming. There is a hum to the place, but how did they get there?
There is no silver bullet
I was working with a client recently on a growth challenge and I could see, as we were chipping away that they had the look in their eye. That look you’d recognise. When someone is waiting for the punchline. I said “I’m getting a sense you’re looking for ‘the’ solution. There isn’t a silver bullet for this though. It’s the compounding effect of multiple actions”.
Surprisingly, you could see some relief on their face. They hadn’t missed the boat for growth, but instead now had a series of actions they could take to get the growth engines firing. How refreshing.
The hard thing about having to take evolving actions is it requires tolerance for uncertainty. You, as the leader, have to endure a level of pain and uncertainty that would cause most people to blow a fuse (and lose their $hit). So how do you do that in a busy, chaotic world?
Here is how to start chipping away (remember, no silver bullets)
Now that we’ve ‘had the conversation’, we can start chipping away at growth. Here are some starting points:
- One person at a time – hiring and individual growth will have a compounding effect. You can’t have poor performance lingering in the team. You also have to recruit for a growth mindset. Build a coaching culture that thrives on change and embraces uncertainty.
- Move from fixed to growth mindset – the growth mindset isn’t new, but it is still so poorly done (come on, people). Moving to a mindset that seeks new challenges, embraces learning, tries new things and values feedback is critical.
- Experiment, learn, repeat – business growth is a series of experiments. There are some things you don’t have to trial because they simply work, but most things are up for grabs. Challenge industry norms, look for new technology, trial innovations that are low cost but high impact and talk to your d@mn customers!
- Wage war on mediocrity – mediocrity is the enemy of growth. If you happen to be growing and have a mediocre team, it won’t last long (I’ve seen this countless times). If people are complacent, comfortable and things seem easy then it is time to kick things up a notch. Push for better even when today feels ‘good enough’.
- Live your purpose – nothing else matters without a real, well defined purpose. People will stay when things go well, people will endure through purpose even when things aren’t going well. Never lose sight of that.
One last thing…
I’ll qualify all of this with some tough love: none of this is going to be easy. It’s economically impossible for all companies to grow, especially given the current state of the economy. The path to growth in a tough economy is even more fraught with challenges. It’s d@mn hard work.
If you can build a committed team, that puts you ahead of the pack. We’re here if you need the support getting there. It’s what we do.
You’ve got this, now make it happen.