Growth is Good… If…

Wednesday, August 10 2011

Like a tree, every organization needs to grow. Growth can build structures within the organization that enable it to withstand buffeting from the world and to reach deeper for the resources it needs to thrive.

But, organizations that grow in the wrong way can wither and die. Every contemporary organization faces the winds of change which come from all directions including inside. The key to good growth is to hit the moving target of clients’ future needs and wants by directing the organization to meet new desires when they arise. Growth is an effective means of coping with changes, if it is skillfully coordinated.

Effective growth is building a strategy to move in the right direction based on best judgments about where the winds of change are blowing and the internal nature of the organization.

Ask these questions about six important areas of change:

1.    Demographics
How will shifts in the makeup of the population affect what people want from our organization?

2.    Social Attitudes
How are attitudes changing about our type of business and what we can offer?

3.    Technology
What new tools are altering the methods of delivering what we do and the way people satisfy their needs?

4.    Economics
What is transforming the way money is used and how will that affect those who will be spending money with us in the future?

5.    Governments
Where are attitudes and approaches of politicians trending and how will those make our suppliers and clients different?

6.    Marketplace
What is new and evolving in those organizations that compete for our clients and our resources?

Draw on the collective wisdom of the organization’s leadership, using the Milestones Program to paint a picture of the threats that you face as well as your opportunities for future growth. Look at the past performance of the organization to understand what it offers to fulfill future needs and wants, and where it is likely to fall short. Specifically, examine times when the organization created notable successes by satisfying clients in the best way possible.

Ask two questions:
•    What did we do to make these results happen?
•    When else have we done this?

Explore these answers, dig deeper, and discover what made these successes possible. The result will be a list of strengths, from which you can refine the most powerful.

Look next at those events where the results were disappointing and ask questions about how the organization fell short. This will allow you to probe for underlying weaknesses and identify the most critical.

Now you have identified the most promising opportunities, greatest threats, most powerful strengths, and deepest weaknesses. By looking at where your strengths fit the opportunities, you discover where the organization can grow. Similarly, where threats impact weaknesses, you dig down to discover where the organization needs to grow greater internal capacity.

The result is a sound understanding of where your organization can grow to become a greater player in its industry and, like a tree, continue to flourish and withstand the tempests of change.