|How Are You Leading For Growth? |
Last year I joined the Summit Global Network, a group of 22 boutique consulting firms from around the world. We are all independent organisations, but are able to use our collective reach to help add more value to our clients. For example, we have recently published the Summit Global Network Growth Survey. The survey includes 84 respondents from around the world, all of whom are executive officers. You can access the full report by clicking here and reviewing the findings for yourself, but here are my top five take-outs and insights from the survey:
1. Over two-thirds of the respondents forecast growth for their business, and over a third project growth above 5% pa over the next two years. Many of these businesses are US-based, but it points to the fact that growth opportunities exist even when overall economic conditions are far from ideal. What are you doing to accelerate growth for your business?
2. Over half of the respondents set an annual growth target - less than a quarter focus on multi-year goals. In my view, a focus on annual targets lead to short-term actions and incremental improvement, rather than step-change growth. If you are simply focused on the next year's growth targets you will only ever polish your existing customer proposition; you will not transform it. What growth ambitions do you have beyond the next 12 months?
3. Growth is, for most respondents, outside their top 3 priorities. Total profits, profit margin performance, customer loyalty, brand strength and operational effectiveness were all seen as more important than growth. Yet, for most businesses, growth is the single biggest determinant of company value and investors focus their resources on those companies that show longer-term growth potential. Is growth sufficiently high on your agenda?
4. It is easy for business leaders to believe that their organisation is better than it really is. For example, 20% of respondents said that their company was an innovation leader', and less than 40% said that their business was 'in the pack'. When looking at your sources of competitive advantage you must take a critical look at their real strength, and objectively seek out and review the evidence that either supports your assertions or challenges them. How strong are your competitive advantages, and are you being overly optimistic in your assessment of them?
5. Less than 40% of business leaders communicate their growth ambitions through daily conversations and meetings. Conversely, close to 60% of respondents communicate through formal monthly performance reports and through periodic set-piece announcements. The problem with a reliance on these formal communication channels is that they speak to people's head, but rarely to their hearts. The purpose of leadership is to build ownership, and that is, in essence, an emotional response. This means that it is your informal, daily conversations, not your intranet announcements, which will have the biggest impact. How often are you using your daily conversations and meetings to communicate your growth ambitions for your business?
As we move into 2013 it is likely that you are assessing where you should be focusing your efforts and resources to maximise your organisation's performance. Please use this survey and these insights as part of your thinking and conversations to gain clarity on both the level of growth you're after, and the specific routes to growth that you will pursue.
Click here: Access the SGN Growth Survey