What Happens When Steady-Growth Companies Stomp On The Gas Pedal?

Opt 3 Sept 14

When steady-growth companies decide to stomp on the gas pedal, especially with new leaders, it is convenient to assume the “old timers” are just fine and will take care of themselves while all else goes to growth. Be wary of unintended consequences…

When a company is young – it is all about growth – and everyone is in the same place. It is all about hunting (in the hunter/farmer view of sales). When a company is in steady growth, there is a mix of hunters & farmers, with an emphasis on farmers.

 

Then when there is a shift to fast growth, frequently with a new leader and/or new ownership with a new approach to governance, the focus shifts back to hunting, as with a start-up.

 

Except, it isn’t a start-up. There still are these established relationships between account managers and their clients. The needs of the tenured account managers and their tenured clients are different from the hunters bringing on new clients. Similarly, long tenured employees in operations, and other support areas, are particularly impacted by the refocus on growth.

 

It is convenient for leaders to assume the “old timers” are just fine and will adapt, while all else goes to growth. Not true. We all want to feel valued and important.

 

So the question for the leadership of any established company on a fast growth path is, “How do you engage, (i.e. win the hearts, not just signatures on legal documents) of high performers and key clients?”

 

And the question for a board of directors is, “What responsibility do you have to steward the growth strategy in a manner that does not result in unintended consequences to the culture?”