Organizational growth can be based on a number of different strategies, including growing capacity, expanding or changing customer base, or offering new or upgraded products or services. Further, strategies may be executed using different tools, including organic or acquisition based growth. Regardless of strategy, there are common lessons learned about what works, and what does not work, in successfully driving and supporting organizational growth.
On April 7, 2016 Helios HR and the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce hosted a round-table discussion with 20 local leaders on the subject of executing corporate growth. Although each leader had a unique strategy for executing their growth, the actions and behaviors which drove organizations toward their goals were similar and simple in concept and can be summarized in five ideas – strategy, preparation, people, communication and decision making. The following are some highlight of our conversation:
- Define your market differentiators
- Identify what your corporate culture is and ensure it align with your differentiators
- Align your growth strategy with both your differentiators and culture
- Plan how you will integrate people into your organization
- Proactively prepare your infrastructure, systems, and processes
- Clearly define priorities
- Continually assess your executive and senior leaders; those that brought you to where you are today may not be the best fit to move you forward
- Place your talent in the right roles
- Invest in your mid-level leaders to support your current and future state
- Poor communication can derail growth
- Most successful communication strategies during growth involved high-touch events such as one-to-one and small groups conversations, as opposed to emails and newsletters
- Lack of decision making during periods of growth leads to problems with culture and attrition
- Making a decision, even the wrong decision, is better than not making any decision at all
As stated above, each of our leaders had a different growth story, but the lessons learned they all shared with regard to executing corporate growth were not unique to industry, organizational size, or growth plan. These common sense concepts that we found ourselves agreeing to unanimously can only be executed when we have the intention and have developed the discipline to do so.