Growth - Look beyond products and markets

“Your key people must grow as fast as you want your organization to grow.” That is the advice of of a CEO who was responsible for fueling his organization’s growth from $40M to $80M over the past few years.

If you expect your organization to grow revenue or expand market share, how will you do that? It’s tempting to pay attention only to the external-facing factors such as marketing and new products. But it’s just as important (maybe more!) to look internally.

Your company’s future is at stake. Don’t let the “hunker down” mentality blind you to opportunities to enhance your most important asset. Your leaders and other staff, whether they are senior managers or technical gurus, need to be continually growing their skills and knowledge.

Here are three strategies to make that happen.

1. Create a culture that supports risk-taking and development.
If it’s not safe to take risks, your employees will not grow rapidly. Create a culture where mistakes are accepted, in fact encouraged, as long as learning follows. For more on this, read chapter 6 of The Fourth Factor.

2. Encourage each individual to drive her own growth.
Ask each key employee what new skills or knowledge s/he would like to gain this year. Make time and funds available; suggest books or articles relevant to each person’s learning agenda.

3. Use team time to enhance the team’s leadership capacity.
Your senior team should spend at least a full day together once a quarter to address business problems that are more than today’s “fire drill.” Use that time to upgrade your team.

Use every opportunity to let employees know that you expect them to continually develop and will support them any way you can.

Growing your team provides the fuel to grow your business!

What are your strategies for developing your team?


Photo from Pawel Pacholec,