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5 Tips for Meaningful Business Growth

June 2014

How to Manage Success Carefully

Steve Blue

Steve Blue

With economic recovery on the upswing, growth is on the minds of companies nationwide – particularly those experiencing an uptick in contracts and project commitments but have not yet staffed or duly motivated their companies to meet the escalating demand. In order to manage, measure and sustain meaningful growth, business leaders would be wise to heed these five tips:

1. Manage the Senior Management Team, NOT the Company. That’s Their Job!
The essence of leadership is to create an environment where smart people can flourish and apply their individual talent, experience, knowledge and expertise to capitalize on this new business growth. The best approach to making this happen is to define the vision and then energize those people to unleash that vision.

As the owner, there is still more to do. From there, it is important to keep challenging the team and holding them accountable for managing, measuring and sustaining that growth. Once they receive those challenges and accountability, step back and give them the true independence they need to perform. No one can perform when his or her boss is hovering, watching every move and micro-managing every action. Give them space and let them do what they do best.
That does not mean that there never should be a time to reconvene and check on progress. Instead, the team can come together and track progress through three ongoing touch points:
1. A monthly thorough business review;
2. A weekly “Quick Intelligence Meeting” for hot topics; and
3. A monthly one-on-one coaching session with each direct report without fail.
Those weekly and monthly check-ups keep little issues from becoming significant problems. Plus, they eliminate the need for an annual review because there is already regular feedback among the team to manage business growth.

2. Be a Nut on Profit. Align EVERYONE on Profit.
It is important to be a “nut” about profit and incite everyone else in the company to share the same enthusiasm and passion for achieving profitability. Everyone must be held accountable when it comes to profit. That includes every single person in the company.

To incite the entire company to focus on profit, performance pay can be implemented. For example, each employee has a base salary with a bonus that is not based on sales but on the one thing that matters: achieving profit. If the company achieves below 90 percent, then there is no bonus. However, hit 100 percent and above, and then the rewards kick in.

Imagine a factory worker asking the CFO where the company stands on profit. And, they will when faced with a bonus that only comes when profit is achieved.
At that point, leadership must ensure that they have provided the tools, training, direction and inspiration to help everyone in the company do more than just be nuts about profit but also deliver on that passion for profitability.

3. Only Hire Superstars.
Think about the talent on board now. It took a long time to find them among the crowd of potential candidates. Those superstars are the needles in the haystack. These gems are what will help sustain the business growth, but it takes talent just to determine if a person is a diamond in the rough, already polished, or a fake.

When interviewing potential superstars, make sure the candidates are a perfect fit with the existing organizational culture. It is a good idea to have peer interviewing and include department and team members in the interview process alongside senior management. The prospective candidate’s future colleagues can help determine if they are a good fit. This is an excellent way to build a team of superstars who actually want to work together. Not to mention excellence is contagious and will soon spread to other team members already on board.

There may be times where a superstar that joins the team turns out to be anything but. Don’t hesitate to fire what turns out to be negative non-performers in a nanosecond. The negativity can spread just as fast as the excellence, so it is important to stop it in its tracks so that the superstars can freely perform at their peak.

4. Discover Organizational Values. Recognize Them. Celebrate Them.
Few things are more important than establishing values. Each value an organization defines and acts on reflects how the company works, how each employee behaves on the job, and how the firm operates within the community. As such, these values contribute more to exceptional results than any mission statement ever could and help to manage ongoing business growth.

Organizations that manage their growth effectively tend to spend a lot of time supporting their values and rewarding their people when they exhibit those values. Even consider having employees nominate each other for recognition when they demonstrate one or more of the organization’s values. This raises the significance on the values, helps each team member take them to heart, and encourages them to incorporate the values as part of their behavior.

5. Embrace Continual Change.
Although embracing continual change may sound more like a business cliché than a secret to business growth success, it is an integral strategy for building mega-profits rather than opting for the status quo approach. Sometimes, it is difficult for an organization to know what type of changes to make or how to view the process of change, which often scares and mystifies those in an organization. That may mean calling in a consultant to provide direction on how to focus the organizational culture on innovation and problem solving.

In order for ongoing change to be truly embraced, every single member of the organization must be involved in the process. That includes having team members from the factory floor to the sales guys and operations participating in the case for operational and organizational change. When aligned with the existing business growth, this change can become more meaningful and relevant to all involved, thereby encouraging them to embrace the changes. The dots are easier to connect for everyone in the firm, which also speeds the implementation of changes that then can open the door to even further growth.

Now that the secrets have been exposed, it is up to each and every organization currently experiencing business growth to determine how to act on these secrets to help them manage, measure and sustain that growth through future economic cycles.

With more than three decades of management, executive, consulting and speaking experience in markets all over the world, Miller Ingenuity CEO Steve Blue ( is a globally regarded business growth authority who has transformed companies into industry giants and enthralled audiences with his dynamic keynotes. In his upcoming book, “Outdo, Outsmart… Outlast: A Practical Guide to Managed, Measured and Meaningful Growth,” he reveals why seeking growth and surviving growth are equally perilous, and require different sets of plans to weather the storms. Follow Steve@MillerIngenuity. I95