Forget about a CMO, COO and other old school titles - hire a CGO for business growth
The days of compartmentalizing business functions into tightly controlled areas of influence (like marketing, sales, operations etc) are long gone – we just need to accept this Change Reality and buy into a new way of thinking: Business Growth.
“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” Thomas Edison
It is no coincidence that Edison had the foresight and creativity to invent the electric light bulb. With the same enlightened foresight, you can move your business into an exciting and prosperous future. It’s just a process of change. A process of growth. A process of evolution. And, like it or not, change, growth and evolution are the three items that will allow you to build a sustainable business future in today’s world.
Business Growth requires change and evolution
Business Growth, in this context, represents all these ideas and concepts. Why? Because change and evolution represent a state of growth – a state that ensures you weren’t the same as you are today, or were yesterday. Growth is an ongoing process of change and evolution. It may be large, it may be small – but in today’s world growth is the outcome of change and evolution.
Every business is different and there is no magic bullet that enables you to grow your business. In addition, everyone has a different perception and understanding of what growth really means – because you are a unique individual, a unique business, with unique needs, desires and values. So challenge what you read and don’t simply accept what you hear. Take it all in and judge it for yourself. Once you have defined what is relevant and right for you, you will have a better process in place for understanding what is appropriate to meet your needs; and you will be in a position to make better decisions based on a set of well-considered options.
Business growth can transform your business outcome
One of the things that many business people fail to recognize is that growth itself can transform a business. But how do you start to generate growth? You start by accepting Change. And change can be Evolutionary or Revolutionary – the latter being more dramatic and less desirable under normal circumstances (although may be desirable under specific circumstances – although this can be a topic for a separate article in the future).
One of the ways you can do this, which is often ignored or not taken seriously, is to acknowledge that planned growth is much more desirable than unplanned growth. And in order to plan growth in a changing environment, you need a Chief Growth Officer, or CGO. Someone that has the ability to view opportunities for growth from numerous perspectives within the business. Someone that is not compartmentalized. Someone that understands operations and sales as well as marketing, distribution, technology and finance.
Business growth means different things to different people
That’s OK, provided that the end result is a changed state for the business, regardless whether it is dramatic change or a small change. And under the guiding hand of a wise CGO, such change will likely be more visionary and less disrupting to the organization.
There are a number of different ways you can measure growth; here are just a few examples:
number of customers
your employees (headcount)
your number of products
your number of markets
volume of items sold (quantity)
number of stores
customer retention (loyalty)
reduced churn rate (e.g. cell phone subscribers)
assets (important where you do not expect revenue or profits for a long while)
Some people may want to grow their revenue, some may want to grow the number of employees, some may want to grow margins or number of customers. If your business is struggling or in decline, growth is required just to keep the status quo and then to move it forward at a later date. Bottom line: it is really critical that you identify what is appropriate to you and how to measure it. Your CGO can lead this process.
Ignore change at your peril
I recently came across an article in Forbes magazine that put the topic of change into a clear and unambiguous perspective. This article provides some context on the reasons why change not only needs to be embraced, but actively led: “If you’re not willing to embrace change you’re not ready to lead. Put simply, leadership is not a static endeavor. In fact, leadership demands fluidity, which requires the willingness to recognize the need for change, and finally, the ability to lead change.” The article adds: “While there is little debate that the successful implementation of change can create an extreme competitive advantage, it is not well understood that the lack of doing so can send a company (or an individual’s career) into a death spiral. Companies that pursue and embrace change are healthy, growing, and dynamic organizations, while companies that fear change are stagnant entities on their way to a slow and painful death.”
Growth is never easy – but we cannot hide from it
In my role as a change agent here at Mastermind, I help companies that are dissatisfied with their business performance, and in particular, their marketing and sales efforts. We help them gain better insight on the future they would like to create for their business, and help them build a road map to get there in an organized and painless way. I am often faced with people that find change hard to accept, embrace and implement. I fully understand their perspective and I work extremely hard to facilitate a process of change that may, at first blush, appears daunting. However when faced with the alternative that the writer of the Forbes article has clearly identified: “companies that fear change are stagnant entities on their way to a slow and painful death”, most leadership teams buy in, slowly at first, and then with greater commitment as the process proves to be less painful than originally anticipated. At the end of the day, I actually act as a CGO, without the requisite title, but with many of the same responsibilities.
“The Definition of Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Albert Einstein
The hardest point in the process is taking that first true step, not a false start, but a true step toward making change. The leadership team must realize that if they continue to do things as they have done in the past, they just cannot expect a different outcome. If they are indeed unhappy with their current efforts and outcomes, then change becomes the only way to survive. Therefore they need to buy into the process of change – whether they like it or not.
My suggestion would be to see growth as a means to change. Do it in such a way that you maintain control – be organized, disciplined and predictable in as many ways as possibly. Proper planning is a pre-requisite for growth, so managing that is crucial to your success. Embrace it – don’t fight it. The world is changing around us – if you decide to fight it, then the world will pass you by. Rather ride the wave of change and you will create a new and fresh business future for yourself, your business and your team. Make it a new reality! Allow a CGO to map it out and implement the process for you.
At Mastermind, I use the following as a tool for facilitating change. While not all encompassing, it sees the organization from a business opportunity and growth perspective, excluding the operational elements (naturally, any growth oriented activities will need to be coordinated with the operational side, however it would make this visual too complex to understand if I included that aspect). It can however represent a starting point for the CGO. It is presented as an idea for you to consider – build on it if you wish, however feel free to contact me to discuss or debate this approach. I for one always enjoy unique and fresh ideas and perspectives that allow us to evolve even further as things change around us. After all, even we are subject to change, and we do embrace personal and business growth as a way to deal with a new world, full of daily changes.
A methodology for business growth
By Neville Pokroy
Neville Pokroyhas over 30 years of experience in all aspects ofbusiness growth,strategy and marketing, from big business to sole proprietorships. His hands-on experience spans the most basic to the most strategic, and everything in between. This has provided him with tremendous insight at all levels of the marketing discipline, and in particular, how it impacts on the ability of businesses to leverage marketing as a prerequisite for growth in a changing world.
If you are interested in finding out how these skills and insights can help you grow: Call me today 905-886-2235.
Mastermind Solutions is a multi-disciplined consulting firm comprising of highly experienced professionals. We are committed to attaining the highest customer satisfaction by providing accelerated solutions to your business challenges.
We specialize in Business Growth. We deliver to clients' a sustainable future by helping them define where and how they wish to grow. And then we make that happen, together with you.