The axiom that “everyone is responsible, therefore no one is accountable” indicates that no one is really accountable for sustainable business growth. Implementing and adopting growth-focused practices, what GrowthThinking® calls the Mechanics of Growth, helps companies to “do the right things” and “do the right things right” to consistently generate growth opportunities and strategic growth outcomes. Within GrowthThinking, Principle 18 proposes that companies should be deliberate about identifying a senior leader that is accountable for growth. This is particularly important for generating strategic growth outcomes outside of the existing business base and creating the environmental, structural and cultural conditions where growth can be sustained.
The Chief Growth Officer role has started to emerge as an executive who is accountable for sustainable business growth. However, it should be noted that, while Chief Growth Officers (or equivalents) have joined leading companies such as Colgate Palmolive, Zurich Financial Services, Hershey Company, H.J. Heinz, and Interpublic Group, it may not be necessary, or recommended, to add yet another “C-level” executive to existing leadership teams. Specifically, an existing Chief Strategy Officer, equipped with new CGO-type responsibilities, resources and tools, is properly placed in the organization to shape how companies achieve the explicit goal of delivering growth beyond their core businesses.
Companies aspiring to be Growth Enterprises should explore and ask these questions:
1) Who is responsible for growth? Where does it sit in the organization?
2) Who is responsible for fostering cultural change and creating the environmental conditions where growth can be achieved and sustained?
3) Who is responsible for translating the chief executive’s vision into opportunities for future growth, communicating the vision, and guiding the company to realize that vision?
4) Who is responsible for appropriating and aligning the corporate resources necessary for the company to execute a growth strategy and strengthening the company’s future growth posture?
5) Who is responsible for inspiring the organization to convert uncertainty, structural change and complexity into new growth opportunities and improved future growth prospects?
image credits: growthstrategy.com
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Wayne Simmons is an accomplished executive, innovator, value creator, and entrepreneur and co-author of GrowthThinking: Building the New Growth Enterprise. As CEO and Co-Founder of The Growth Strategy Company, Wayne leads the vision, strategy and growth of the company. He has worked for global advisory firms Ernst & Young, Deloitte Consulting, and has been a trusted advisor to C-level executives at Fortune 500 corporations, venture capital firms, and small and midsized companies. Wayne was trained in airborne reconnaissance for US Army Intelligence; and is an alumnus and Fellow of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Keary Crawford is a results-driven executive leader with extensive experience in operations, M&A and finance for start-up, entrepreneurial and middle-market companies. As co-founder and COO of The Growth Strategy Company, she manages the strategic growth and vision, and day-to-day operations; and is co-author of GrowthThinking: Building the New Growth Enterprise. Keary was trained in Behavioral and Social Sciences and is a Fellow and alumna of the Executive Development Program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.