Entrepreneurial ambition & growthStrategy & Leadership

Leading in the middle – Seven silent killers of growth

In his book, Leading in the Middle (available by clicking this link) Robert Sher of CEO to CEO, an American consulting firm specialising in mid sized, often adolescent, companies shares what he sees as the seven silent growth killers of Medium sized companies. As usual I summarise and interpret the key points in my words below and encourage readers to follow through by reading the book.

Letting Time Slip-Slide Away

Projects seem to take too long, or get stuck altogether. Business leaders need to set target timescales and create a sense of urgency.

Strategy Tinkering at the Top

Continually changing core strategy and chasing the latest idea for growth can be deadly.  Stick to your core competence and be persistent and change direction with care.

Reckless Attempts at Growth

Impatiently throwing time and money at seemingly good opportunities that don’t build on strengths increases risk and cost.  Be clear what you don’t do as well as what you do.

Fumbled Strategic Acquisitions

Most acquisitions fail.  But they are critical tool to achieve ambitious growth.  So do acquisitions carefully with a clear understanding of how they will be integrated to deliver profitable growth.

Operational Meltdown

Profit is good, but driving short term profit without building the platform for future growth will cause a business to plateau or fail.  Invest in the infrastructure that will deliver an effective as well as an efficient operation.

The Liquidity Crash

Businesses fail because they run out of cash not because they’re not profitable.  Take care when growing fast that you have the cash to deliver what you’re selling.

Tolerating Dysfunctional Leaders

Politics comes into every organisation, but don’t let it get in the way of business.  Watch for those invest time in telling you a good story and take credit from those who are actually doing things.