A lobster will molt its shell for a larger one to grow in its place, a cactus will grow into its pot, a turtle’s growth may be impacted by the size of its tank — if we know anything, it is that nature is our teacher. Let’s dive into this concept to help us grow individually and as organizations.
Over the past 20 years, “digital transformation” has become a reality for many fast-growing businesses. But along the way, I have also seen business plans that over-promise and business operators who are not willing to double down on their future. In my own business, I am willing to roll the dice and bet that we will “grow into our shell” because if I do not bet on my team winning, we certainly never will.
To me, investing in growth is not a risk but a requirement. My biggest weakness, according to my accounting team, is that I buy in advance. I purchase the office systems that will support a much bigger team; I invest in office space that we can grow into; and I create goals that push our limits, even if the cost is a tight cash flow and we need to grow to sustain the investment. Because my only goal is to grow sustainably, with the right team, I am able to put the majority of my energy into supporting this growth.
After all, I believe if you hesitate to buy the customer relationship management system to empower your sales team of three, for example, you will never be able to support a sales team of five, 10, 30 or more. Similarly, if you hesitate to empower your finance team with robust tools, you will likely struggle to retain those team members and increase your knowledge and capacity. If you do not track marketing expenses through return-on-investment metrics, you won’t increase your lead generation impact. If you do not invest in your customer experience, you will never increase your share of the wallet and improve customer retention. If you are afraid to invest, you will simply not grow.
When my current business venture was founded seven short years ago, I envisioned a company of 200 employees. Today, with five offices in the world, we are just short of that goal. This venture is specialized in the consulting of change management and digital transformation, so I walk the talk when it comes to investing in scaled growth.
In the case of my own company, I can’t say we were not lucky. However, we did build the foundation for our luck. To build this type of foundation in your own company and ensure you’re investing in your growth, I recommend keeping a few best practices in mind.
• Set goals for improving your return on investment when you make investments in your growth, and monitor, quantify and measure those goals. Time and access to this information have intangible value, but they are valuable nonetheless.
• Ensure your process for goal-setting and investing in the company’s growth is not owned by too many people. Reduce the risk by empowering a project owner to make real-time decisions.
• Trust your gut. It comes from experience.
The bottom line is this: The next time you hesitate to invest, ask yourself if it’s worth giving up on the opportunity to grow. Can you bet on your team’s success instead of assuming failure? I believe there is no such thing as a bold decision if it is quantified and measured and you have an exit plan if required. A controlled failure and lesson learned are still more valuable than inaction and lack of growth.
You can also watch our Webinar on-demand to learn to map your own 5-year digital transformation.