Growth is essential for a business; leaders aspire to achieve it, yet for most, it remains elusive. McKinsey states that 25% of companies show no growth, and over the last decade, only 1 in 8 achieved more than 10% annual revenue growth. It turns out that achieving profitable growth comes from the “choices” a Leader makes.
Do you, as a leader, make a conscious choice to grow? Or do you pay lip service to your growth ambitions and let your resolve fade if profit isn’t immediate?
Sustainable growth is challenging, but choosing a growth mindset is the essential first step, and it’s readily available to every leader regardless of the industry, economy, or business size. These growth mindset leaders think, act, and speak differently. They seek to align strategy and capabilities with customer needs, wants, and desires. They explore and invest in opportunities both within and outside their core business. They maintain their direction, commitment, and growth vision despite unexpected turbulence and surprises.
A recent article by McKinsey and Company (see reference) explores the characteristics of these leaders who make a purposeful choice to grow and follow through on that choice.
“…changes in thoughts and actions arising from choice can make the difference between sustained standout growth and remain with the pack.”
Although McKinsey’s research focused on C-Suite leaders of large corporations, there are actionable ideas that any entrepreneur interested in profitably growing their business can use immediately. Leaders who display at least 3 of the following five characteristics (see infographic) are 2.4 times more likely to outgrow their competitor’s profitability.
1. Emphasize ACTION over PERFECTION.
2. Are WILLING to FAIL.
3. Know their CUSTOMERS as a PERSON.
4. FOCUS on LONG-TERM growth.
5. COMMUNICATE their SUCCESSES.
Action over Perfection.
With clear strategic goals, objectives, milestones, and metrics, it is easier for leaders to make decisions in the face of uncertainty. This focus helps leaders maintain momentum even through turbulent times. Seeking more information or waiting for the perfect timing are merely stall tactics designed to put off making a decision.
“Perfection is the enemy of progress.”
Be Willing to FAIL.
Growth leaders understand that their core business maintains their current financial results but is unlikely to achieve profitable growth. Expanding the business by innovating into new markets, creating new businesses in adjacent markets, or building businesses through mergers and acquisitions is essential for long-term growth.
Know your Customers as a Person.
Market offerings must meet the needs of the customer. Capabilities and Competitive advantages must always relate to the customer, with all products and services providing customer solutions.
Growth leaders can improve their chances of achieving growth by committing to innovation while identifying and understanding the needs and wants of their customers. Only by knowing the customer can the correct value propositions be developed that will appeal to them.
“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”
Focus on Long-Term Grow.
While achieving excellence in current operations is critical, growth leaders rely less on historical budgets that feel “familiar.”, choosing instead to explore how to ignite growth. They adapted their operating model for the long term while understanding the risks inherent in the new businesses and markets they were developing. At times these “growth choices.” came at the expense of a few quarters of earnings while always envisioning their long-term growth aspirations.
“Overnight success stories take a long time.”
Growth leaders accelerate their results through strategic shifts to higher growth pockets within their current markets, innovate core products and services, and improve execution capabilities. They actively track and measure leading and lagging key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with organizational goals and incentives.
Communicate their Successes.
Growth leaders generate 80 percent more shareholder value than their peers over ten years. Beyond creating shareholder value, growth attracts top talent, fosters innovation, and creates jobs. Growth becomes the lifeblood of an organization, feeding the culture, elevating ambitions, and inspiring a sense of purpose. This growth story must be shared repeatedly by all, both inside and outside the organization, to continue to attract the star performers that will perpetuate the growth mindset.
“When you have a winning culture, employees can speak genuinely and convincingly about why your organization is a great place to work. And that naturally attracts people who are seeking exceptional workplaces.” Gallup
Choose the Growth Mindset today.
Making the deliberate choice to grow creates powerful momentum that drives the entire business toward its vision and creates alignment between executives and frontline employees. The 5 Mindsets for growth highlight essential elements leaders need today to achieve profitable, sustaining growth. Focus diligently once they have made a deliberate and purposeful choice to grow.