In order to stay relevant, companies have to keep on growing. Consistent business growth is what allows the biggest of the big companies to stay afloat over the decades. Imagine: 90% of all Fortune 500 companies from 1955 are gone, and a huge part of that is because they weren’t able to keep the consistency of growth. Even if—especially if—your company is doing well now, let Ken Courtright teach you how to keep going forward. After all, you wouldn’t want simple stagnation to keep you from maximizing your company’s full potential, would you?
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Keep On Growing
I am in the middle of a series called the Growth Checkup Chart. It is based on our Growth Checkup Chart that we have used on and off for over two and a half decades. This is episode 69 and it’s called Keep Growing. Episodes 63 through 68 took us to the top of the chart in which we talked about the four fundamental principles of growth, the bottom of the chart, the four leadership principles of growth. We’ve gone from the bottom left to the top right of the chart. Right now, we’re around the far-right side. This chart will be on KenCourtright.com. We’re making some Photoshop changes to it. As the world changes, we change the Growth Checkup Chart.
For those of you that have applied episode 63 through 68, odds are good that you are now growing. Some of you are probably growing like never before. The question is, “Now what?” I talked about over 400 of the Fortune 500 companies from 1955 no longer exist, even though their industries and many of their competitors are still thriving. The question is, “What on earth happened to those companies?” They were growing to make the Fortune 500 list where they derailed. That could have been avoided had they applied the two fundamental layers of this episode. I don’t care if you’re a one-person shop or you’re 20,000 employees strong. It doesn’t matter. There are only two moves that can be made when a company’s growing to ensure growth.New blood is the most meaningful thing to your company's growth. Click To Tweet
I’m going to cover the first one here and the next one on episode 70. The first step, when growing, to apply or layer-in to ensure growth has a couple of layers in and of itself. Layer one, can your company make a commitment in writing to stay young, stay fresh and most importantly, stay current? Does your company have the ability and the guts to make a commitment to itself? Put it in writing, add it to your mission statement and vision statement. Add it everywhere and post it to the walls that you are going to stay young, fresh, and current. The world is changing at the rate of dog years. The business landscape, technology, techniques and concepts are changing as if it was seven years ago. If you relate this to the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, there’s no question about it.
You’ve got to stay new and stay young. Meaning you’ve got to bring in new blood that is getting teaching and coaching from somebody else. This new blood is the most meaningful to your company in the areas where the people do meaningful work. Meaning if you’re in management and you’ve got 100 employees that are doing tech work, salespeople and engineers, they’re the ones that are making the company. I want you to consider that your company is now partaking in your industry’s version of the Major League Baseball or the National Football League Draft. You are now participating. Could you imagine a team in Major League Baseball or the NFL that said, “No, we’re good? We love our team right now. We do not want to draft. If it means giving up one of our veterans, we do not want to draft.”
If a company for a couple of years chose not to participate in the draft, it would simply be a matter of time until death is knocking on their door. Death would be inevitable. Here are indisputable facts about the MLB and the NFL draft, according to the MLB and the NFL. Today’s younger players are way better than yesterday’s young players. The young kids coming into the draft today versus the young kids that came in 1966, they’re scoring better on everything. They can hit better. They’re faster and they can catch better. The bottom line is the teaching and coaching techniques have improved and will always keep improving. Many years from now, the young players entering the draft are going to run faster, jump higher, score better and hit better because the teaching and the techniques are better. The world is evolving.
Every company has to draft top talent each year. If you’re a one-man-band, what do you do? You partner with young talent. You use interns and you hire JVs, joint venture partners. You do one-off deals with young people. You have got to stay young. You’ve committed that you’re going to stay young. The second layer is while you’re growing, your company has to take out a calendar, go out five years and every nine months, your company has got to go out and schedule a SWOT session. Six months is too short. There’s not enough change inside the company. Twelve months is way too long. Let’s look at the acronym SWOT. You measure your companies and your five biggest competitors, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In any given year, all four of these are changing. We can take a quick look at Uber. Uber for three and a half years came out of the woodwork. Every six months, you could have done a SWOT on Uber and every answer would be incredibly different. We can all agree to that. Incredible threats are coming to Uber and Lyft.Growth is a matter of habit. You've got to be able to commit. Click To Tweet
If my company was counseling them, I would run a SWOT on Uber and Lyft by different people every 90 days. Here’s the key to swotting every nine months and you got to remember, six months for the general business is too quick and twelve months for the general business is too long. The key to a SWOT is it has to be done by different people and different groups every nine months. It can’t be the same for the same reason that an author cannot edit their book. The people doing the SWOT inside the company, whether you’re doing your own company or another company, it can’t be the same person or the same group of people nine months later. You’ve got to get different input for the SWOT from different people because they’re going to see the company, the opportunities, strengths, weaknesses, and threats differently. These two layers seem simple. You’re going to stay young and fresh. You’re going to SWOT every nine months. It seems simple and easy and they are, but so are sit-ups, pushups, and eating right.
How come few people are truly fit? Everyone knows that if they exercise ten minutes a day, cut their calories, had more protein, eat right and eliminated the junk, we would live longer. We would look better and we would stay young. Why don’t most people do it? It’s a matter of habit. You’ve got to commit and you’ve got to put it in. There are three things. Number one, I would ask you to commit to your company in blood in writing. Review this Growth Checkup Chart or any major consulting firm’s Growth Checkup Chart every Christmas break. Ask a coworker to do it with you as you’re probably the author of your book. Number two, stay young, fresh and new in the areas that mean the most to your company. Grab some first-round draft picks.
Number three, set a nine-month calendar for five years out that you and a coworker, a different coworker each time, is going to do the SWOT on your company and five other companies. If you’re growing and you commit to these three things, you’re almost cutting off the prior reason why growth stopped. You’re cutting the tail off. What would suck is if you start growing again, but you forgot episode 63, 64 and 65, where I made everybody look backward and understand the fundamental leadership principles. Most importantly, the psychology of why you were growing once before and now you’re not. These three things remove the psychological chance that you might slip again and allow you or your people to get complacent. This will keep you fresh, focused and relevant. Wait for episode number 70. It is a barn burner. I hope this helps. Take care.