Are you, your team, and your company poised for real growth this year? Are you all aligned on how and where to begin to get where you need to go? If so, congratulations, regrettably I suspect you’re in the minority.
We all know uncertainty is everywhere. The recession may lift or it may linger; the cliff may rise again or it may fall; ditto the price of oil, the strength of Europe, the growth of China, and the global market at large. The persistent discontinuity of the “new normal” is now so well established the phrase itself is little more than a cliché as we enter 2013. Happy New Year!
Still the pursuit of business growth persists. In fact, for many, it’s becoming urgent. But for all the time, energy and resource it rightly commands, there seems to be a pervasive lack of understanding about just how real growth is achieved, much less sustained.
Of course there are really only two ways to improve one’s business; you either address the bottom line or the top line. And for the past twenty years, there’s been so much focus on the bottom line that most companies today are actually quite efficient.
Six Sigma, total quality management, and process optimization have all helped CEOs focus on their core and make their business better by becoming leaner and more efficient. But you can no longer succeed by focusing exclusively on the bottom line. Today’s CEO won’t get very far blaming the “new normal” for soft results or a stalled business. No, today’s CEOs need growth, not just performance. And it’s the search for
top line growth that’s driving the intensifying trends toward innovation. But top line growth is hard. Really hard. Game changing growth and innovation can be unpredictable. After all most innovation fails, at the staggering rate of 60 – 80%.
Just as efficiency found its champion in Six Sigma’s strategies and tools I’ve often wondered if there could be a corresponding and systematized approach to growth. What if, instead of capturing lightning in a bottle or relying on the spark of individual genius, there were an ongoing framework of measurement that showed the way and improved success on the path to growth? Why couldn’t there be a defined sequence of steps with quantified targets focused not on efficiency and cost reduction but rather on the growth of sales, revenues, and profits? What if growth itself could be broken down into its constituent parts; elements and processes that could be replicated and applied again and again across an organization? Could such a “process” be modeled?
Now, a new company, dedicated to an entirely new and all too timely proposition – that like quality performance before it, growth itself can be deconstructed, understood, and engineered – has stepped forward with just such an offering.
The Growth Posture Index® (GPI), from The Growth Strategy Company at Arlington, Virginia, is a new management tool that measures the key competency and readiness factors affecting the future growth of individual companies. The result of two years extensive research, data collection, and analysis among the 500 largest companies in the world, The Growth Strategy Company’s GPI identifies thirty-three success factors across six organizational competencies and two fundamental readiness conditions to gauge growth potential. GPI delves deeper into diagnosing the root causes that can be holding a company back, while also suggesting new and often non-traditional avenues to growth.
Sorting for the critical conditions the company must prepare for, and the corresponding competencies it must embrace and enable – and acting on them all – are the keys. As such, the GPI is a new enterprise level measurement and management tool that promises a method and process that can lead companies to the environmental, structural, and cultural conditions where real growth can be achieved and sustained.
So much so that it may help us all as the pendulum of management thinking swings from our rapture with efficiency to a renewed passion for growth; growth that can be both designed and managed. It’s not either/or mind you. The pursuit of one won’t replace the other, rather companies today need both efficiency and growth to succeed. The insight – and, indeed, potential breakthrough – is that now they may both be investigated, understood, and designed as outcomes through informed process and discipline.
While my familiarity with this new management tool is superficial at best, and I’ve no idea how productive the GPI will prove to be in practice, I applaud the company’s initiative, believe in the intellectual integrity of the endeavor, and suggest anyone facing the all too common issues referenced here might very well benefit from kicking the tires themselves.
So what’s really going on today across your enterprise? How familiar are you with what’s necessary to achieve and sustain long-term growth in today’s marketplace? Where does your company stand in its pursuit of growth? And where do you?
image credit: thegrowthstrategycompany.com; copyright Lou Killeffer November 2012 All rights reserved. Five Mile River Marketing. image credit: businesswoman image from bigstock
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Lou Killeffer is a Principal with Five Mile River Marketing. A versatile marketing strategist, Lou’s passion for communications and innovation has made him a trusted advisor to some of the world’s most enduring businesses and brands, from AT&T to UPS, where he helps enterprises embrace change, look ahead, and focus on sustaining success.