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.
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.