Do you know the 10 most valuable global brands? Let me give you a handful of names from the list Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft. Yes, most of the brands are tech companies which is, indeed, predictable. Whilst these brands get bigger and more valuable, they have a number of common properties: Their dedication to innovation, their customer centric approach and their enthusiasm to achieve.
The culture and success of the top five companies are a huge inspiration for leaders who plan an organizational transformation. Actually, it is the beginning of the growth culture.
What is Growth?
Growth is a scientific method applied to KPI’s. Over the last ten years, growth approach has become a management philosophy and starts with the “smart goal setting system”. What are the steps in order to set a smart goal system? First, companies should state their objectives clearly, i.e. what the company wants to achieve. Then, companies ought to build a plan on how they achieve their goals. Actually, this way of thinking is very familiar and may also be called ‘What and How’.
Imagine a new director in an organization, for example, and her team is responsible for a new business line. To lead the team in the right direction with passion, you have to clarify what your “north star” is. Have a “bold” objective. This objective should make people start to think out of the box. Keep “north star” idealistic; do not bother to be realistic, in fact, realistic objectives keep people thinking with limitations. A qualified Growth objective ought to be scalable.
Now, team has a smart objective and it is time to define the way. “How do they achieve the objective?”
As a director, one should use resources efficiently, meaning she should consider defining some metrics to measure operational quality. For instance, whilst revenue is a critical quantitative objective; keeping profitability as a qualitative metric is essential for sustainable growth.
What is Culture?
Simply put, Culture is the reason employees go to their offices every day. Culture shapes how people think and act. The core idea of establishing culture is to have loyal employees who devote themselves to making customers happy. Thus, business can grow and become profitable. In a productive growth environment, people have self-awareness; know which of their strengths to build upon and weaknesses to be healed. Teams are more willing to share company value. Transparency brings trust and collaboration. Every employee forms a part of the whole and a “one company approach” is established.
Most CEOs know the importance of their employees. For instance, leaders like Jeff Bezos (Amazon) put so much effort into growth culture establishment. They know that it is not all about money; people want to be in a culture both they and the company can grow in. Leaders should invest in each employee’s transformation into the growth culture. Companies should have an identity that is not solely composed of its achievements.
The same approach is valid for Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg and the leadership team invest in the growth culture. They mention company values clearly; they care about people, transparency and build business value together.
In a nutshell, these are 7 principles to build the growth culture in a company:
- A safe environment sponsored and secured by C Suite. Leaders who are willing to be role models and take personal responsibility for their misjudgements and failures.
- Well defined targets, Smart KPIs that can clear the air in stormy times. Report results and dashboards transparently to democratize data accessibility.
- Continuous learning efforts to invest in people and company. Encourage curiosity and transparency.
4. Iterative and structured testing processes. Test ways of working, test new tech capabilities or new features to discover optimization and development opportunities.
5. Continuous and instant feedback grounded by company guidelines to help people improve.
6. Social connections among people and teams to get to know each other better.
7. Reward success and learn from failures. Do not label people “winners” or “losers”.
In summary, as a key decision maker who drives transformation in a company, the best way to bring growth is by changing culture. On top of that, to sustain growth, keep the seven key principles alive.