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Face it. In business you have two choices: grow or die.
Economists call it the growth imperative. Unless a company is committed to growth, bankruptcy is practically certain in the long run. Bankruptcy, it is said, is the ultimate market feedback. The growth imperative is shorthand for saying unless the firm is committed to profitable growth, then it is unattractive to investors and talented employees.
As a country song might put it, get busy growing or get busy dying.
What can doom a growth strategy? According to one expert, if you are looking for a culprit, start by looking in the mirror.
“Executives often accept their own revered interests as truth,” says Ashby. “Some will go to the ends of the earth to protect those interests. Protecting interests impedes growth.”
Ashby has a PhD in the field and is known as a stratologist, which is someone who studies and implements strategies and theories. Over the course of her 30-year career she has held many leadership roles, overseeing multi-million-dollar budgets and $1.7 billion in capital improvements for organizations like the Kaiser Permanente managed care consortium.
Ashby is an author and speaker on the subject of strategic growth. We met several years back when she asked for help editing an upcoming book on strategy.
We both will be speaking at the UC Irvine Center for Applied Innovation at the June 13, 2019 Growth U Summit. The focus of the interactive summit are business leader discussions on new strategies for recurring revenues, scaling, and refreshing brands.
Ashby shared with me three myths she will discuss that can doom a growth strategy:
Myth One. I need to develop the perfect strategic growth plan. “First, ask yourself, what is my interest in preparing the perfect strategic plan?” asks Ashby. “The assumption is it validates the executive as a superior leader. However, perfection can equal paralysis.”
Myth Two. My strategy will hold employees accountable. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way,” says Ashby. “In fact, typically most executives in the organization don’t even understand their role in achieving the overarching strategy. You have to define what you mean by strategy, further defined by who are the tactical implementers, and how they can be successful. Not everyone is strategic. The right tactical work still needs to get done and a leader needs to hold the employees accountable.”
Myth Three. Because loyalty matters, the person entrusted with implementing the growth strategy should be my favorite employee. “Is your favorite employee really the right person to lead the implementation?” asks Ashby. “Loyalty cannot get in the way of your interests. Often leaders can have a blindside and miss the fact the ROI of the favored isn’t there anymore. Beware. Sometimes complacency and exploitation of the relationship has grabbed hold.”
Ashby is the CEO of Strategic Implementation Solutions and serves as a leader with the National Association of Women Business Owners.
May 28, 2019 at 08:08AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs