GROWTH IS THE DYNAMIC CONFLUENCE OF STRATEGY,
ENTREPRENEURSHIP, AND VALUES
The research on high-performance companies both public and private, demonstrates that consistent value creation requires a focused strategy that is implemented through a mixture of entrepreneurial activities and exploiting activities enabled by an internal system characterized by values-based (ethical) leadership,culture, and policies.
Growth happens when the right kind of leadership, internal environment, and processes come together to
create a small-company-entrepreneurial soul in a large-company body. Growth requires
experimental processes, an entrepreneurial mindset, iterative entrepreneurial learning, leadership
that accepts entrepreneurial failures, and internal processes that mitigate the natural proclivities
of human beings and organizations that inhibit growth
the DNA of consistent growth or value-creating companies, and it appears that those defining characteristics apply to both public and private companies. The DNA of consistent value creation is made up of:
- Simple, focused strategies
- Structures that enable entrepreneurial behaviours with customers
- Business purpose and meaning (values) above and beyond just creating shareholder value
- Relentless, constant improvement
- High employee engagement and high accountability
- Humble, passionate, values-based leaders
- Execution excellence
Formation of strategy is a more dynamic, ongoing process among these companies involving employees and customers in feedback (learning) loops in contrast with the common top-down, strategic process that often occurs as part of an annual budgeting process in other companies.
Strategy in high-performance companies is more like the entrepreneurial venture capital investment process.
Portfolios of strategic forays are built based on a 2 × 2 × 4 matrix.This matrix characterizes opportunities as short term or long term; top line or bottom line; and as improvements, innovations, scaling, or strategic acquisitions ranked by the relative riskiness or magnitude of unknowns. This portfolio is built and managed with the expectation of creation excess cash through operational excellence that funds a dynamic portfolio of investments which,over time, creates new S-Curves.
Many studies, including mine, have shown that companies that are consistent high performers focus on multiple stakeholders and that fuels their success.These companies, to varying degrees, view employees, customers, and society as stakeholders,too. While they have different cultures most have a stewardship mentality with policies that is employee-centric and results in employee loyalty, productivity, and engagement better than the competition.
This type of employee engagement does not just happen by culture. It takes a relentless focus to counter elitism, hypocrisy, arrogance, and complacency through policies and leadership behaviors that are defined, measured, and rewarded. Leaders in these companies are generally humble, passionate operators who have grown up in the company and who have been able to shift from a personal career focus to a stewardship focus.
High-growth companies are more entrepreneurial than the competition in that they are constantly learning; iterating; improving; trying new things in small, risk controlled experiments;empowering employees to take ownership of their jobs; and, in defined areas, giving employees the power to take action and solve problems quickly and without having to worry about being punished for making mistakes unless such action crosses the line as to ethics, reputation, or capital risks.
My hypothesis is that for most organizations to achieve above average growth over an
extensive period of time it is necessary to create the right mixture of strategy, entrepreneurial
mindset and processes, and a values-based internal system