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Almost every CEO wants to grow their business. After all, performance improvement is usually how CEOs get evaluated. The question is, what solution do they use to accomplish it?

Solution Option 1: Do it Myself.  Without question this is the most commonly deployed method for pursuing company growth. Unfortunately, it is the least successful. Statistics say that somewhere around 80% of plans fail due to lack of implementation. Only 1 in 4 strategic growth initiatives return value. And of plans implemented they return only 2/3 of projected value. Any way you slice it, not great odds. Most CEO’s didn’t get to the top by knowing how to do strategic planning; they got there because of their overall brilliance. But like anything else, effective strategic development often requires expertise to get the best result. In the meantime, to learn your strategic style and how you can get better results in the future, take our assessment.

Solution Option 2: Sales Training.  Sales training is an important tool to make sure your sales force is operating at maximum effectiveness. When there are a few people under-performing the rest, it may be time for more product knowledge or skills training. However, if your whole team is struggling to get the results they used to, chances are it is changes in the market that makes what they are selling a tougher sale. In that case, sales training won’t solve the problem. It could be a stopgap that buys you some time however to re-evaluate the company’s position in the market place.

Solution Option 3: Traditional Strategic Planning.  This is a tougher one because there are so many different approaches. There are over 250 strategic planning processes that I am aware of and not one of them yields a comprehensive solution. Each has a specific purpose and situation in which it works best. So, understanding the process doesn’t typically help. One thing to consider is how much effort is going into the process. A one day effort gives a one day result. What typically comes from a one day effort is a list of projects. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was your current business strategy and your new one won’t be either, if it is to be effective. Not in one day. Or two. If you are interested in doing an annual plan that links to budgets however, this may be your best bet. Hire a facilitator who will work with your team for a couple of days. Just be sure to align your expectations with your investment. Like everything else—the return generally reflects the investment in time and effort. If you are looking for a modest 2-4% improvement year over year, a traditional strategic planning approach may work for you.

Solution Option 4: GrowthDNA.  This new framework helps organizations take a new approach to growth and earn a much better outcome. It addresses the unseen hurdles that keep your company rooted in business gravity. See more on GrowthDNA here.

Why does it work? It starts with hard data which means there is more confidence in making tough decisions and the group tends to be able to make bolder decisions. Data also exposes the challenges that no one in the room wants to mention so we get to the heart of the problem. Next is the creation of a market-driven overarching strategy that unifies the company and provides the clarity needed to align everyone in the company behind common goals. The deliverable includes how to align resources with this new plan, what needs to be done at the operational level to deliver the strategy, and how to mobilize the people in the organization to contribute.

Leaders are charged with obtaining organizational wide commitment. All of that engages employees in a growth-minded culture that outperforms the results listed above from traditional strategic plans. This is what is needed if a strategic change is being considered, if the industry is mature or if technology has significantly altered how business is done. Often these factors are important to a CEO stepping into their role and wanting to determine their game plan; to those who are thinking about exiting the business within 5 years and want a favorable transaction; and especially to those leaders who find themselves faced with a maturing industry with slowed growth and increasing competition.  Consider this chart that shows which problems are solved with each type of solution.

Problems Do Nothing Sales Training Traditional GrowthDNA
Improve sales from current customers X X X
Determine who your best customers are, how to identify them, and develop service tiers that improve profitability X
Improve confidence and reduce risk in decision making with data driven decision making X
Develop a strategy to guide future growth X X
Connect the strategy to operational requirements X
Engage employees in plan implementation X X
Identify new market driven growth opportunities X X
Prioritize growth opportunities X X
Identify and prioritize projects X X X X
Develop common goals across teams rather than within functional silos X
Increase return on strategic initiatives and investment X
Improve team performance X
Have a detailed action plan for implementation X X
Realign resources to priorities X
Address competitiver margin pressure X X
Determine leading indicators that can signal when change is needed or affirm you are on the right track X X
Generate incremental growth X X X
Generate Transformational growth X

If you still aren’t sure which path is best for you, take the no-charge GrowthDNA Scorecard Assessment to find out how if your organizational DNA is helping or holding you back OR just drop me a line at mreynolds@breakthroughmaster.com. I would be happy to point you in the right direction.