The Power of a Business Growth System
The critical factor in a high-growth company’s success is not strategic focus. Nor is it operational excellence. And it’s not products or services. All of these are important, but the most significant factor is an organization’s ability to put it all together, to craft strategy and execution into a workable growth system.
Business growth is more than a strategy – it’s a system. Products and strategies are the result of the system that creates them, including the process of creating the idea for the product. Great products and smart strategies don’t last forever, but the system for creating new product ideas and innovations and then bringing them to market has the potential to become a sustainable competitive advantage.
Over time, consistent high-growth companies develop an internal growth system that seamlessly connects strategy, leadership, resources, systems, processes, skills, structure, organization, people development, and culture to drive behaviors that result in a competitive advantage and promote long-term sustainable growth.
Growth is sustainable for these companies because they are able to leverage the organization’s unique combination of what it does and how it does it. These companies succeed, not because of what they own or how big they are or because they are positioned in the right industries. Their advantage lies in what they do and how all the disparate parts of the organization fit together to create a one-of-a-kind growth environment that not only enables growth but also helps manage growth.
A successful growth system touches every part of a company and contains elements that reinforce one another; together they provide the wherewithal for growth. The entire organization works in one direction creating unique value.
Consistent growth occurs when the right combination of strategy, leadership, resources, systems, processes, skills, structure, organization, people development, and culture are present. Linking a few of these elements is not enough. Only when all of them are in sync can a company expect to experience consistent growth. When all of these elements work together as a system, an essential advantage is created that distinguishes high-growth companies. It is sustainable and almost impossible to copy – as opposed to being a temporary advantage that allows companies to succeed for short periods of time.
Of course companies can possess other forms of business advantage – advantages based on products, brands, resources, or market positions. But they are all temporary. They are vulnerable to technological disruption, upstart competition, and shifting economic conditions. Patents and copyrights expire. Business processes prevail until more efficient competitors appear. Government regulations change.
To unlock your growth potential, you need to take deliberate steps to connect the outward-facing and inward-facing activities of the business. Just as your competitive strategy covers products and markets, your organizational strategy covers how you will change as your business grows and develops. There must be a tight match between a company’s strategic direction and the ways of operating that make it unique. This allows a business to adapt to changing conditions, making it less vulnerable to external events.
Developing a supportive growth system is difficult and doesn’t happen overnight. All the different parts that make up a high-growth organization must come together as a unified whole. The size of the organization and resources available influence the level of detail or sophistication of these internal systems. But the concept remains the same. Growth companies iterate until they consistently link strategy, resources, structure, leadership, systems, processes, people development, and culture to drive desired behaviors.
Achieving that aim is a work in progress. A growth system needs to be constantly adjusted and improved, as a business grows, so that the critical components remain aligned to drive the desired behaviors. Because it is so difficult to build and maintain a successful growth system, it becomes a differentiating feature of high-growth companies.
Does your company have a growth system that provides a sustainable advantage?