"The Stages of Growth"/"Growth Curve X-Ray"
The Stages of Growth/Growth Curve X-Ray (… and it’s companion program Zeroing-in on Your Profit Zone) explain the “Hidden Agents” that either accelerate or restrict your company’s growth and success. Navigating the Growth Curve & accelerating your success is all about:
- A – Getting focused on the right things at the right time,
- B – Learning how to predict how growth will impact on your business, and …
- C – Getting clear on what’s required of a leader as you adapt to the needs of your company in its current and next stage of growth.
As you will see below, this is a deep, brilliant process of strategic analysis and thinking, wonderful engagement and accountability, embedded with strong realisations, objectives and a very special sense of mission. It is specifically designed for the small and medium enterprise business or departments of larger organisations. Outcomes from this process have saved enormous amounts of time, money and resources from unnecessary deployment or use, redesign business models, generated previously and exploited revenue sources, and provided the confidence of a solid base of ongoing cash flow and profitability. Not to mention the pride and sense of achievement injected into those at work in the organisation, and across the customer base, as well.
So, let’s detail several of the core concepts and processes woven into this wonderful and “weightlifting” Service.
Firstly, the movement from one stage of growth to another begins as soon as you land in any stage of growth. What you don’t get done in a specific stage of growth does not go away. These things will come to the surface in the future stage and may cause major problems (… this is the price you pay for rapid growth). It’s important to appreciate that time will make a difference.
However, if you aren’t growing, you are dying! Stagnation will not allow you to be successful in an ever-changing, competitive marketplace. Every company is growing in some way, and when a company is growing, more complexity is introduced. There are three speeds of growth which companies experience. They are as a: Cruiser Company, Developer Company, an Accelerator Company.
1 - Cruiser Company
- A Cruiser Company operates at a slow pace and only has a lower amount of chaos. This type of organisation could spend 3 to 10 years in any one stage of growth.
- As a consequence their momentum and complexity factor is low.
- Their growth tends to be driven by market demand, rather than initiative or aggressive business development. Companies operating in this way tend to be mature companies.
- Their operating philosophy tends to be “Don’t drive ahead of the headlights!”
- The new product to market cycle is usually 12 months to 2 years
2 - Developer Company
- A Developer Company has to deal with a moderate amount of chaos
- Their growth speed in transitioning through this is 6 to 18 months, as they have moderate momentum and complexity,
- Their growth is driven by market demand
- There patterns of growth and expansion unpredictable, however they are measurable,
- The cycle of getting new products to market is 6-12 months
3 - Accelerator Company
- An Accelerator Company entertains extremely high levels of chaos,
- Their time in the stage of growth is generally 3 to 6 months,
- It consists of rapid growth, high momentum and high complexity,
- The fundamental nature of an Accelerator Company is explosive and chaotic,
- It’s growth is driven by competing market forces and outside fundings
- Patterns of operations and grows a rapid, difficult to measure and not predictable,
- Product design is dynamic and quick paced,
- The new product to market cycle is 3 to 9 months
The Stages of Growth/Growth Curve X-ray demonstrates and details the eight Hidden Agents at play in your business. Knowing how to adapt to these Hidden Agents is where your success as a business owner, entrepreneur or manager will determine your success more than anything else!
The 8 Hidden Agents always at play in businesses
1 - The 27 Challenges and the Five Primary Challenges …
1 - Profits are in adequate to grow the company
2 - Need for an improved business model or design
3 - Customers are migrating away from your products and services
4 - Continual cash flow problems
5 - Limited capital available to grow
6 - Employee turnover
7 - Hiring quality staff
8 - Staff morale and team voltage challenges
9 - Need for a flexible planning model
10 - Need to have better staff buy-in and engagement
11 - Project management and resource coordination challenges
12 - Leadership/staff communication gaps
13 - New staff and team member on-boarding and orientation
14 - Employee and contractor training and development
15 - Unclear values throughout the organisation
16 - Dealing with the cost of lost expertise when employees leave - technical, systems, customer and supplier knowledge and relationship
17 - Chaotic periods destabilising the Business
18 - Leaders and manages needing to understand how the company will adapt and grow into the future
19 - The impact that staff engagement and satisfaction has on the company’s profitability
20 - The company culture is generally resistant to change
21 - The marketplace, technology, social media & your customer’s needs change too quickly
22 - Difficulty forecasting problem areas before they surface
23 - Difficulty diagnosing the real problems or obstacles to growth
24 - Too slow getting products and services to market
25 - Not able to quickly get systems and procedures in place as the business grows
26 - Week product & service development and differentiation in the marketplace - lack of clarity and definition around USP’s and Customer Value Proposition
27 - The challenge of developing new business, new customer relationships and expanding sales
Successful companies made sure they were focused on the right things at the right time.
In our research we captured 27 Challenges that companies face at one time or the other.
Many times, it appeared that more than five of these Challenges were critical for them to address at a specific point in time. However, the successful companies took the time and energy to focus on just five of these Challenges at any one time.
They addressed the most critical for their stage of growth and moved on. The biggest detriment to companies as they grow is not focusing on a limited number of key issues.
Companies that weren’t able to sustain profitability year after year chased after each issue as it appeared on the horizon. Taking stock of these Challenges every 6 months proved to be a key factor in companies staying alert to the changing environment around them.
2 - The Builder/Protector Ratio
Understanding your company’s Builder/Protector Ratio improves for you as a business owner, the insight you have into your company’s mental health by:
- Allowing you to measure the companies ability to perceive and overcome challenges,
- Communicating the company’s willingness to perceive and take advantage of opportunities in its path,
- Measuring the strength of the company’s immune defence system, acting as a barrier against the low morale and poor performance
- Assessing the company’s willingness to advance itself through change,
- Highlighting the company’s belief in the future,
- Communicating the company’s trust in its leaders
The Builder/Protector Ratio examines vitally important factors such as:
- Leadership … in particular whether the leader(s) and managers establish and refresh and optimistic tone. Whether they are visible to all in the business and the value-chain, whether they operate with openness, candor and insight, whether they maintain high activity levels within the company to keep employees inspired and motivated., whether they project certainty or uncertainty, defining and aligning, business goals & issues, rather than constantly shifting mission & priorities.
- Business Fundamentals – examines the perspectives that your people have about the companies financial strength and prospects, its cash flow, its product and service quality and the processes that support customer satisfaction and profitability, customer retention, sound decision-making within the business, sales team and the company sales and marketing teams ability to increase revenue.
- Feeling Respected and Valued – rates the levels of which your team feels about having to ask permission or being empowered, the ability to make important contributions and to be respected for doing so, the flow of two-way feedback and encouragement, the way in which commitment and performance are viewed and encouraged, the sense of “family” amongst the team and across the business, the attitude and support for personal and professional growth.
- Implementing Change – explores the businesses approach to managing change and whether or not there is a planned and organised approach to transition and growth, how the work culture or “the way we do things around here”, encourages or discourages people to conform with policies and use operating procedures, what are the leaders and managers of the business actively involve the team and individuals in managing change – right through from establishing in defining the nature of the problem through to co-designing and implementing solutions, exploring how the business encourages continuous improvement & how it involves its people improving the performance of business, understanding how the business conceptualises embraces change, even when there is not necessarily a clear understanding of the process and outcomes to be achieved, the attitude and belief in the businesses ability to be affective and consistent with implementation.
- Innovation – assesses and examines the competitive nature of the company’s products and services and explores whether or not they will lead the market going into the future, and whether or not its’ people appreciate working with an organisation that has leading edge products and services, how are attached it is to the status quo, and whether or not he actually has an accurate picture of where the company is right now and how it is travelling, whether the business users established proven or evidence based methods to get work done, what the attitude of the business owners and management team is towards taking advantage of business opportunities and its willingness to work on managing risk, what’s the company’s track record is in developing and marketing new products, and how the business encourages the exploration of new and alternative ideas.
- Team Maturity – the builder/protector ratio also defines and examines the maturity of the team from aspects such as business strategy, and whether or not strategy is translated into practical actions on a regular basis, and how the team are setting stretching objectives, demanding performance improvement and delegating challenging tasks for all members to work on, and achieve, how team effectiveness is and operates, and whether all team members are encouraging constructive performance feedback of its methods, leadership and clarity of purpose, how decisions and team decisions are made – are they evidence based or based on experienced intuition or on and examined assumptions, what is the basic team dynamic? Is it based on openness, transparency and trust, or are people constantly interrupted and discourage from presenting their business development views and proposals, and how much consensus, cooperation and contribution is there in the development and assigning of team tasks to individual members … or are individuals empowered to back their own judgement and manage risk and accountability
3 - "The 5 Non-Negotiable Rules"
This Hidden Agent has the ability of bringing out issues that normally get overlooked. It is a terrific tool to generate discussion and promote alignment.
There are “Rules of the Road” for all companies in our Stages of Growth Business Model. Understanding what those Rules of the Road are helps a CEO to create the infrastructure that will support the growth of the company.
If you don’t get all the Rules covered in one Stage of Growth, they don’t go away. You can’t ignore them. By checking-in regularly with where you are in completing the “Rules of the Road”, your chances of staying ahead of your headlights improve dramatically.
If you get caught behind, simple problems can become major roadblocks to reaching your goals.
4 - Leadership Modality
In our research, we discovered three Modalities that successful CEOs used in their company depending upon the stage of growth.
- Those three Modalities are Dominant, Supportive and Facilitative.
- When evaluating a CEOs Modality, it’s necessary to understand that this isn’t about their Leadership Style or their capacity to ‘assert authority’. Modality is a form or manner of expression.
- When assessing whether or not a CEO is Dominant, Supportive or Facilitative, look at the ‘manner of expression’ when they are addressing a group, running a meeting, or preparing the company for a change.
- Their Modality will shift depending upon the circumstances as well as what is required of that CEO at that time in a company’s growth.
- A CEO can think about how firm his/her grip is on the wheel of the organisation.
- When a CEO is in dominant modality, his/her grip is firm or he/she is very present in the company.
- When a CEO is in the facilitative mode, he/she is in the passenger seat asking how things are going and taking an indirect role in the company.
5 - The Three Faces of a Leader
The Three Faces of a Leader are: Visionary, Manager and Specialist.
- The Visionary is the leader who makes sure the company knows where they want to go.
- The Manager leader understands the importance of growing a company through managing the work that needs to be done and managing the people who need to do the work. Both of these are very different skill sets.
- The Specialist leader, some times called the Technician, understands the need to immerse themselves in the work the company produces in order to capture the necessary processes to deliver that work and to make sure the product meets clients’ needs. All three faces of a leader are critical throughout the growing stages of a company. The amount of emphasis on each one changes and the success of the company growing beyond the leader starts here.
6 - Five Strengths
Most CEO’s spend most of their day dealing with problems and fighting one crisis after another. Critical to successful companies is their ability to focus on their Strengths as well as their Challenges. By focusing on Strengths, a company can learn how flexible they are in responding to customer needs. They can feed their sense of ‘self’ by affirming that the Challenges they may have faced last year have now turned to Strengths. By understanding which Strengths are much needed for a particular stage of growth, a CEO can motivate a team around building on these positive issues and not let the critical Challenges of the day cause burnout and morale issues. As part of The Stages of Growth/Growth Curve X-Ray, these strengths are defined, explored and discussed and then contextualised and made relevant to your business.
7 - Leadership Style
- We drew upon the body of work by Daniel Goleman as it relates to Emotional Intelligence to help a CEO understand what Leadership Style, of the six outlined by Goleman in his extensive research, is necessary for each Stage of Growth.
- The six styles include: Visionary, Coaching, Affiliative, Democratic, Pacesetting and Commanding.
- Leaders tend to display at least three leadership styles at any one time and deploy the one that seems best suited for a specific circumstance. Most of this is done, subconsciously, without intention.
- Our research supports the fact that leaders who led with intention and with emotional clarity were the great leaders.
- Leaders who understood the need to adapt their leadership style to the needs of their company as it grew, became leaders who understood the importance of connecting to the emotional side of business.
8 - Leadership Competencies
When Goleman talks about the value of an emotionally intelligent leader, he debunks the claim that an organisation’s success rises or falls with a single charismatic leader, (as does Margaret Heffernan in her challenges to the notion of the heroic soloist) Today, A leader who looks ahead to the future and identifies, trains and nurtures potential leaders who will take the company forward, assures a ‘great’ company will exist beyond any one person. Leadership Competencies, according to research by Goleman, is a key ingredient for determining leadership capacity in individuals. Managers who exhibit virtually every one of the 18 competencies tend to be high-performing managers. We have again taken this body of work and, based on our own research, tied specific competencies to specific stages of growth. We have found this a simpler way to help a leader dissect their strengths and weaknesses in a more contained manner.
The Stages of Growth
Growth Curve X-Ray
Laurie (L.) Taylor
Founder & CEO of Flash Point
Co-designer of The Stages of Growth / Growth-Curve X-Ray (Growth Curve Specialists)
International Speaker on business topics
Laurie (L.) Taylor is the author of 6 books
- “Survive and Thrive: How to Unlock Profits in a Startup with 1 – 10 Employees”,
- “Sales Ramp Up: How to Kick Start Performance and Adapt to Chaos with 11 – 19 Employees”,
- “The Art of Delegation: How To Effectively Let Go to Grow with 20 – 34 Employees”,
- “Managing the Managers: How to Accelerate Growth Through People and Processes: with 35 – 57 Employees”
- “Leadership Integration: How to Cultivate Collaboration From The Top Down with 58-95 Employees”,
- “Fostering Happy Employees: How to Ensure Staff Alignment and Engagement with 96 – 160 Employees”
The Stages of Growth
Growth Curve X-Ray Australia & New Zealand
CEO & Founder of People and Business Insights
Exclusive Master Distributors & Trainers of The Stages of Growth / Growth Curve X-Ray
Your Master Facilitator and Program Mentor in Australia & New Zealand
Discover the magic of Business Growth
Who should attend?
Leaders, Coaches, Business Owners, CEO’s, Consultants, Business Advisers, Project Managers
Improve the lives of business owners by helping them predict how growth will impact them.
When you have a powerful process, embracing knowledge & expertise …
It’s like investing in the best software, when you optimise this special knowledge … generating profit and value will flow to you, your people and your business.
- CEO Leadership & Business Needs Analysis
Online X-Ray Questionnaires,
CEO & Lieutenant Preparation Session
- Two days of Interactive Workshops,
Strategy, Initiatives & Planning,
- Clear, detailed reports
Growth Curve Map
CEO follow-up, 60 day review
- Accessible and clear thinking environment to think through key strategic and operational questions
- Full and complete involvement from the management team around a disciplined, systematic approach to strategic thinking & planning,
- Quality, well presented & easy to absorb information
Practical systems, visible Visual Presence/Pathway
Keeping things on track
- Relevant, focused and intertwined practically with the real needs of the business, and the management team
- All opinions and feedback rising to the surface and then properly considered and worked through
- Ownership and responsibility
Goal, objective and results-focused
Total transparency and accountability
- Clarity, clarity, clarity! Confidence, confidence, confidence – A massive sense of achievement
- Trust & Buy-in from the thinking & ideas offered in good faith and expertise, by your senior managers and team. People value what they create!
- Peace of mind from knowing that you have examined all aspects of the business and with clear and dynamic feedback from your team