Whilst your brands and products have been growing steadily you know this is not good enough to accomplish the business long term goals. So you are looking for new ideas to step up and accelerate your growth. As a result, you have spotted an opportunity for your brand or business to get more growth.
It becomes obvious to you that the business should pursue this opportunity. If you don’t, you know the business could get left behind. So you come up with a plan to capitalise on it.
You do your research and planning and may even hire some great agencies or others to help you. Together you come up with growth initiatives that will work. You have done your homework; you have great numbers to support the plan. But when you pitch it to the business, some colleagues are not convinced. They seem a little sceptical. Some seem enthusiastic but don’t really get behind it.
Then even after you have convinced the board, you find you struggle to get the product development or the operations or the sales teams fired up to deliver it. Why does this happen, when the opportunity is so obviously going to create profitable growth and transform the business. Are you wrong? Are they blind? We all want to create growth don’t we?
In my experience teams are rarely either wrong or blind.
In our work with clients we find people are smart, the team is perceptive, skilled and experienced. After all it is the team that made the business so successful. So why is it so hard for others to see what you can see?
If you identify with this situation then you are probably a bit of what I would call an “Internal Entrepreneur”. You are someone who wants to make things happen in the business. But you can get frustrated trying to influence the organisation to create change. So what do you find is the biggest obstacle to doing this?
Your business is designed to keep itself going not to reinvent itself
The problem is structural. If your business was not good at keeping itself alive then the business would not have been as successful as it is. The long term success of the business has come from the structure, organisation, processes and team behaviours of the people. It is these things that created and exploited the steady growth drivers of quality products and services, powerful distribution networks, and great sales activities.
But precisely because these systems and behaviours keep the business going, they will not transform it to be something else and create dramatic growth. Great business leaders in established companies see this. So they talk about the need to encourage entrepreneurship to stimulate growth because they know dramatic growth will only come from make big changes.
Entrepreneurship is about spotting opportunities
It means getting clarity and then making things happen (implementation). Natural entrepreneurs see opportunities all the time and want to take action to create change. They are happy to disrupt things to make it happen. This makes entrepreneurs ideal at stimulating growth.
But this mind-set can be at odds with the flow of the established business.
Do you find most of your colleagues are focused on delivering their KPI’s their bonus targets? And thank goodness they are, that is why these things are in place it is what makes the business work.
What I have noticed is that nearly all big growth initiatives can be traced to an individual or small team who saw an opportunity in the business and had the tenacity and skills to get the business to make it happen. They work with the flow of the business and harness their skills to disrupt that flow and make a change happen.
A new book
This will look at the challenges faced in deploying entrepreneurial skills in established business to drive growth. It will explore the skills of an “Internal Entrepreneur” and bring all this together into the top 5 skills of the most Effective Growth Leaders. I have had the opportunity to interview 11 “Effective Growth Leaders” over the past 3 months and learn from their experiences and their war stories.
- Dirk Geyer – ARAMARK
- Helen Stevenson – ex Mars, LloydsTSB, Yell
- Martin Breddy – Scotts
- Martyn Wilks – Dairy Crest
- Mike Moss – Tesco
- Nick Powell – Energiser Wilkinson Sword
- Nick Wright – Gibsons Games
- Michelle Frost – Mars
- Mike Harris – Launched First Direct, Egg, Garlik
- Rachel Collinson – ex Greencore
- Roula Kamhawi – ex Mars (Middle East, Asia, Africa)
They have each provided a unique perspective on how to create growth from within an established business. In particular how they assess risk and what it takes to convince the organisation that the plan will work.
The book will share what we all have learned from our experiences of driving growth in established businesses. As a result of reading it you will have a much clearer idea of what it takes to bring entrepreneurial skills within the business. It will be a practical guide to being a more Effective Growth leader in your business.
Working titles (feedback very welcome)
Effective Growth Leaders
How they harness entrepreneurial skills to drive growth
The Internal Entrepreneur
Harness your entrepreneurial talents to be a more Effective Growth Leader in your business