High Growth Businesses Need Dynamic Leaders

April 27, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

Clear Vision

High growth businesses need leadership. You need to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. You may or may not know how to achieve that vision but you should know and be able to articulate what you want to achieve. The “how” of “doing it” can generally be left to your team with your guidance, training and support whether they are direct employees, contractors or suppliers.

If you are clear on your goals and have shared the vision with your team then it will help them to understand why decisions are made, what your priorities are and will have an idea of what is expected of them.

Identifying a vision that is suitable for your business means looking at what is happening outside the business. It requires you to anticipate what might happen and to think critically about the options that would move your business forward. Often, you are faced with confusing and conflicting information. It is for you to interpret the information available to you and come to a decision. Procrastination is the killer of high growth businesses and so you need to be able to work with less than perfect information.

This is important because employees like certainty as their livelihood is in your hands. They have to believe that you will be successful as it will mean that they will have a secure income. Knowing where you are going to take the business gives those around you confidence.

Sense of Purpose

You need a clear sense of purpose for the business. You may think it is all about profit. However, employees often struggle with that as an overriding purpose as there is nothing in it for them (unless you have a team based profit sharing scheme). Better to think of a sense of purpose that feels like the business is looking to grow, to be the best or simply to continue to do what they enjoy doing (manufacturers often fall in to this category, one MD said he liked to make “shiny bits”).

So does what you want to do make sense? Involve your team in the “hows” of “what” you want to achieve. You shouldn’t be the expert in everything. Employ people better than you and they will do it for you. If you are running an existing business, get negative views out and deal with them. Address burning issues. Involve your team. Give them a sense of purpose.

Good Communicator

You need to be a great communicator. It is your team that will be doing the work and they need to be clear on what you are looking to achieve. Better to over communicate rather than work on a need to know basis as the more they know the more chance they will understand what needs to be achieved. This helps to remove any misconceptions or assumptions you may have made.

For larger organisations, this means writing a half page summary of the bigger picture and your opinions. This can be emailed out or better still put on the Intranet for everybody to access.


There are many low cost ways that you can motivate your team. Even as a small business you can retain talented people if you introduce low cost ideas that make life easier for them.

Some low-cost ideas include:

Flexitime. Some organisations need their employees to work fixed hours in order to make job functions are covered. However, even under these circumstances it is possible to flexible so that employees can cope with life’s trials and tribulations without losing holiday or be seen as a poor time keeper.

Kitchen. As more comes to light on dietary issues such as intolerances it is important that in any size of organisation the staff have access to a kitchen where drinks can be made, food warmed through and cold items stored.

Working from home. Have a spare notebook and mobile phone and so a member of staff can work at home if necessary due to family commitments. Most people are actually more effective working from home, especially in some office environments where there are constant interruptions. It is also very useful if a member of staff has to write a report or do a substantial piece of work, then working at home on the project free from distractions can be a quick way to catch up.

Work Life Balance. Avoid presenteeism. Try to measure by results, as that at the end of the day is what really counts. Try to make sure your team work sensible hours and mistakes are made when people are tired and relationships become strained.

Positive feedback. Encourage the team to give each other positive feedback when things have gone well. Lead by example. Say a genuine thank you when a member of the team is successful.

Celebrate Success

When success comes, celebrate it. Break projects or tasks into smaller chunks with clear milestones so that you do have something to celebrate. Keep celebrations low cost and spontaneous.

Simply saying a big thank you can be a great way of acknowledging the efforts of the team. If somebody has really put themselves out for you then saying thank you with all expenses mini-break for the employee and their family says a lot more than the equivalent money in the wage packet. This is especially true where the work has meant a considerable loss of leisure time with the family.

Some larger franchises use badges to show increasing levels of skill. However, for most businesses simply saying thank you in private to individuals and thanks to teams in public works well and can be done spontaneously.

Visible to the Team

Finally, be visible to your team. Your team need to see you. Get out to where your team are working and if you have a large team hold regular informal meet the boss meetings with a cross section of your teams.

Write a regular, ideally weekly but no less than monthly, half page summary of what your opinions are on the business. Raw business statics are fairly meaningless to most employees. They would rather know your opinion on how good those figures are and if they aren’t what you are going to do about it.

It seems that most employees interpret no information as something negative is happening or think the worse. The company grapevine will ensure that any negativity is then amplified. By making yourself visible and available then you can address such issues first hand.

Continuous Learning

Although a cliche, the only constant in the world today is change. Stand still and you will go backwards. Even to maintain your current levels of trading and profitability you need constant learning, constant reviews and continual change.

Make it a habit for you and your organisation to learn. A lot of people associate learning and training with attending an expensive external course. This is a myth. A lot of companies can often train themselves. There are now train the trainer courses where employees are taught to employ others in their team. This can make it very cost effective as training often has to be adapted anyway to meet the needs of the business.

Ultimately you are the top coach for your business. Identify your learning style and find ways to maintain and expand your knowledge and then find ways to pass these lessons on to the team.

You are the architect for your business and so it could be some of your learning becomes embedded into the way business is done in your organisation. Other times it may be that you train, coach or support others to pass on what you have learnt to others. Sometimes, it might through the company blog.

Peter Dickinson is a High Growth Business Coach and as Director & Co-Owner of E4A Ltd ( http://www.linkedin.com/in/e4abusiness ) has written a free to download ebook, “Unlock the Secrets of a High Growth Business”.

To download your free copy go to: Secrets of a High Growth Business.

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