Growth: Making It Happen
No matter the season, harvesting value is possible. Prepare the ground, sow creativity and reap the rewards.
This executive dossier includes the following articles:
Defying Business Gravity
Dávila Parra, Antonio; Foster, George
The old belief that management systems kill the entrepreneurial spirit is wrong. Perhaps when a company has fewer than 100 employees, a business can get by on less. But as the authors point out in this article, companies are actually able to grow faster provided that they have strong internal planning and control systems in place early on. They identify eight main categories that demand managerial attention if companies are ever to achieve high growth: financial planning, financial evaluation, HR planning, HR evaluation, strategic planning, product development management, sales/marketing management and partnership management. Of these, financial and strategic planning are key ones to focus on from the start, and the authors consider these from the standpoint of start-ups to glean insights into how best to adopt these measures over time. Managers, they say, also need to adopt the right mindset and be prepared to acquire the necessary skills or else step aside if they don't have what it takes. Having the best system or business model in the world counts for nothing if it can't be properly executed. And it is this ability of execution that is really necessary for generating high growth, sustained performance and continued reinvention over time.
Growing From The Inside Out
The plug. It shows up every year at forecasting time, when your boss hands you next year’s revenue target: chances are it has been plugged, extrapolated from last year’s number plus whatever growth percentage corporate has promised Wall Street, and it is your job to deliver it. Maybe, like many managers, you have some ideas about how to approach that target; you suspect that one or two of them could even turn into something big, but you don’t have the data to prove it, and the numbers guys insist on that kind of proof before any corporate support can come your way. You are caught in growth gridlock, that frustrating place where the corporate entrepreneur’s optimism and need for speed collide with the organization’s skepticism and need for control. This article – based on years of research with resourceful types, dubbed “catalysts,” who have learned how to navigate inside their own organizations and spark growth – offers six keys to help readers crack the code to growth from the inside out. The secret is to move from a leadership style of control and reactivity to one of mastering and shaping your own environment. Instead of assuming you are powerless to effect change, the author reveals the new mindset, strategic questions and reframing techniques that operating managers need in order to develop successful growth leadership.
Mindsets That Matter
Prats Moreno, Mª Julia; Sosna, Marc
Growth is not linear, but a rollercoaster ride of adrenaline highs and stomach-churning lows. Business leaders need both the stamina and ability to shift their approach when necessary to keep their companies on a sustainable growth path in the long term. The authors tracked more than 110 CEOs of young, innovative companies from more than 20 different countries and several industries for more than five years. Their research highlights an important paradox in managing growth: The same behaviors that are necessary or beneficial to grow a firm in the good times can easily become traps in the bad. Being aware of this, and having the capabilities to manage it, notably increases the probability of success. Specifically, the authors identify four shifts of mindset that leaders in volatile work environments need to make if they are to be effective: from sticking to their guns, to collaborating with their critics; from being the protagonist, to becoming an enabler; from always being one step ahead, to making sure everyone is on the same page; from living with extremes, to staying firmly on track. Above all, CEOs need to remain grounded in a strong set of personal values, such as humility, kindness, patience and fair treatment, which will ultimately help organizations deal better with the storms and bounce back more rapidly to the sunny days of growth.
Emerging & Developed Economies
Those who manage companies in developing countries find themselves in a time of transition. Faced with the prospect of declining growth, small and young firms are leading the way forward from the previous, managed economic model toward an important new driver of growth: the entrepreneurial economy. Given that differences in growth rates in developing countries are related to differences in the speed with which these countries embrace entrepreneurial energy, the pressure is on to study effective ways of cultivating and managing this newly significant engine of growth. An economy based upon managing production requires very different conditions from one where entrepreneurship capital needs stimulating. It can even be that policies and institutions that made the managed economy successful are counterproductive in an entrepreneurial economy. Emerging economies provide many lessons. In many ways, these countries are familiar with entrepreneurship: most work a mix of old and new models. Therefore, we have an opportunity to observe those who are halfway there, including those who have faltered along the way. At the same time, those from emerging economies need to learn from their counterparts in developed countries how to manage more effectively the dual process of development and growth. Using examples, the author considers the factors that help cultivate entrepreneurial energy – and those that constrain it.