Why is it that some organizations experience tremendous success, while others struggle? In my work as a CEO Coach to several Inc 5000 companies and high-tech start-ups, I’ve observed 5 traits that distinguish organizations with accelerated growth.
- They Get The Right People On the Bus Getting the right people to innovate and grow the business is more important in achieving overall goals than any other part of a business plan. High-growth organizations also think about hiring ahead of the curve. To avoid a company growing faster than its’ employees’ skills, the bring on the talent and leadership they will need 12-18 months from now today so when the organization is 3x its current size, the team will still be effective.
- They know their metrics. All of the companies I’ve worked with that have seen their revenues soar are diligent about analyzing sales, marketing and operating data. Companies that struggle with growth tend to have a hard time answering basic questions: What are your top verticals by revenue share? What is your customer acquisition cost? What is your customer lifetime value? What are your margins by product or service? What percentage share of wallet do we have from existing customers? What is our operating cash cycle? How do these results compare to my competitors? Often, just the exercise of obtaining this data helps a company get a better understanding of their growth potential.
- They Show a Strategic Perspective. This is the direct opposite of a company that is operating in panic mode, or exhibiting survival thinking. A company actively planning and moving towards national and global expansion; that has a solid one- and three-year agenda and is making steady and measurable strides to meet the critical milestones is poised to succeed and grow exponentially. This is done by “determining the activities that will lead you to the result that you want.”
- They Operate with Transparency. Commitment, integrity and transparency are closely related. A successful organization has little or nothing (other than its proprietary IP) to hide. Life is simpler with fewer secrets about billing methods, pricing and customer acquisition strategies. It’s also easier to keep employees committed and fully engaged. Transparency of operation is a very positive, high-growth sign.
- They Communicate Well Every great leader and every great company communicates well and often. They communicate good news. They communicate bad news, with candor and straightforward language, as well. They communicate with skill—imagine the frustration of the investor who knows he or she has invested in a great company, but due to lack of communication, the world may never know. No great company was ever conceived and grown in a vacuum. High-growth organizations recognize the vital need and the tremendous opportunity they afford themselves when they communicate well.
What do you think? This is just a short list. What traits have you encountered in building a high-growth entrepreneurial organizational?